11 Nisan 5771
YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
HaRav Yehuda Kreuser SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva
PARSHAT ACHAREI MOT/SHABBAT HAGADOL/PESACH
12 Nisan 5771/15-16 April 2011
THE MISSING INGREDIENT
The cars were backed up for miles. Yes, this was the day that we had all been waiting for. Pesach was finally here. As far as one could see, black hats and yarmulkas covered all the heads; all could feel the excitement in the air. Ma Nishtana? This Pesach was surely going to be different than all others! There was not a single hotel room left to be had, the car rental companies ran out of vehicles long ago. So, nu? What to do? We waited patiently as the traffic slowly moved down the street, as the women put on the finishing touches of makeup and adjusted their latest-style shaitels.
Pesach was here and what a great time it was! One could just imagine saying the Hallel - the singing of praises to HaShem, the Master of the world - and breathing in that wonderful smell. No, not of the Pesach sacrifice, but of the ocean breezes right there in downtown Miami, as traffic started to move once again down Collins Avenue.
How tragic it has all become, as the wandering Jews continue to wander - this time, willingly. One just has to witness the mad scene that prevails every Pesach eve at Miami International Airport, as a sea of black hats run to and fro, heading to the latest exile - Collins Ave. What a joke our religion has become, as we all sit around our Seder tables crying out: "Next year in Jerusalem," even as we have absolutely no intention of coming home.
And what does Hashem think as He sits on high and sees His beloved people continuing to run deeper into darkness? He sits and waits for His people to return to His homeland. What more can He do that He has not done already, to bring His people home? After keeping us alive throughout the very long exile, bringing us back to His land exactly as He wrote in the books of the prophets so long ago. Can He not be just sickened by the sight of the Jew holding on to every imaginable chumra, but not holding on to Him? Will Mashiach be some kind of travel agent handing out El-Al airline tickets and helping them with the bags? Woe to the one who has eyes and does not see!
And today, we have exchanged Pesach in the holy city of Jerusalem, in all of its glory, with its multitudes of Jews coming from all over to be seen by Hashem in His house, for an 18-hole golf course. We have exchanged the sight of the holy Kohanim standing in two rows handing over the mizrach vessel to collect the blood from the Pesach sacrifice - and working so fast that the eye can only see it as a row of gold and silver - for an indoor sauna. We have exchanged the family gatherings in the courtyards of the Old City, together roasting the Korban Pesach, with its overwhelming and powerful smell enticing all, for that Caribbean cruise.
In our parsha, Acharei Mot, we also find the many details of the work done by the Kohen Gadol on the holiest of all days - Yom HaKippurim, when he walks into the Holy of Holies to atone for the entire Jewish people. "Happy is the eye who has seen all this, but when we hear of our loss, our soul aches. Happy is the eye who has seen the Levites sing and play their musical instruments on the duchan, but when we hear of our loss, our soul aches."
Today, who aches with pain over our Temple and our great loss? Today, who has time to think of it, as we head out to have fun in the sun? Yes, the missing ingredient cries out to us, and it will not be silent until we take heed of it, return to the Land and rebuild it.
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PARSHAT ACHAREI MOT/SHABBAT HAGADOL
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