The birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe is on the 11th of Nissan. During a public talk the Rebbe gave on his 80th birthday in 5762 (1982), the Rebbe said that it is obvious that if a person is blessed with long life, it is because the Almighty wants him or her to focus on the main aspects of their life, those aspects connected to their soul, to spiritual things. Through their developing this side of their lives, there will automatically be an increase in activity in their physical life as well.

A person was brought into this world to make an impact….

This notwithstanding, we see many people in the world make the mistake that since there is a trend as a person ages for the body to weaken, that this should signal a retreat from activity. How can a person be more involved in his life mission when his body is weaker? So we see that when a person passes the age of 40, and certainly 50 or 60, he is already talking about retirement.

The Jewish answer to this is that a person was brought into this world to make an impact. G‑d created each and every individual with a specific purpose, in order to reveal G‑dliness in the world. If a person is blessed by the Creator with long life, then it should be clear that they still have a lot to do.

As long as his soul is in his body, he must continue to be active….

And if a person thinks that he has put in many years of hard work already and now should be his time to relax and enjoy the rewards, the Torah comes along and says, "Today is to do!" As long as his soul is in his body, he must continue to be active, consistently adding in his ability to fulfill his purpose in the world. Furthermore, even a normal person realizes that adding more and more physical pleasures does not ultimately bring them more satisfaction in life. Rather G‑d has given us our physical needs specifically so we can continue to develop our spiritual side in a healthy and positive worry-free fashion.

The 11th of Nissan is also the anniversary of the passing of the Shelah, Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz. We see a similar message in his writings in connection with a verse in this week's Torah portion, Acharei Mot. The Torah commands us, "You should observe My decrees and My judgments that a person should carry out and live by them; I am G‑d." (Lev. 18:5) "Living by them" means that everything we do in connection to Torah should be our life, and this living should be with great enthusiasm and energy, no matter what age we are!

The Passover Seder is the very same meal that our forefathers ate on…their departure from Egypt….

The Kabbalists of Safed emphasized that the Jewish holidays are not just commemorations of events from the past but that each year we re-experience these events on an even higher level. The Passover Seder is the very same meal that our forefathers ate on the eve of their departure from Egypt. The event begins with a child asking Four Questions: "Why do we eat only matza, why do we eat bitter herbs, why do we dip our food and why do we lean when we eat." We respond with the answer that we were slaves and now we are free. Yet we do not find anywhere is the Haggadah specific answers to those Four Questions. One explanation is that all the different acts we do during the Seder are indications that we are free. Once a person is living freedom, fully involved in the momentum of redemption, then it is natural for many of the smaller questions to fall away. They become irrelevant in the bigger picture. So Passover is meant to be for all of us. By remembering that on the highest level we are free, all of the small things that are bothering us will vanish and give us even more freedom to act as G‑d wants us to.

Shabbat Shalom! Shaul


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