By the Grace of G‑d
Erev Shabbos-Kodesh
Shabbos Hagodol, 5739

To the Sons and Daughters of
Our People Israel, Everywhere —

G‑d bless you all!

Greeting and Blessing:

The month of Nissan, as also its central feature, the Festival of Pesach, Chag HaMatzos, are “firsts”: The month of Nissan is designated as “It shall be unto you the first of the months of the year,” while Pesach is the first of all our Festivals. As such, it is understandable that both the month and its Festival encompass more, and more comprehensive, teachings than any of the other special days of the year, as is also emphasized by the fact that many moments in Jewish life are related, and serve as “memorials” to Yetzias Mitzraim — the Liberation from Egyptian bondage.

One of the basic significances of the Pesach Festival is that it represents the birthday of our Jewish nation; hence it directly relates also to every Jew, as part of the nation.

In general, every person’s life is two-faceted: that of an individual, and as a member of society — the nation, country, city, community, and environment in which he lives. Although, at first glance, these two aspects of a person’s life are at opposite ends, with conflicting interests, human life is so ordered that both aspects — the “individual” and “social” — rule side-by-side in a more or less harmonious coexistence; the goal, however, is to achieve a state where the two aspects complement each other to the degree of constituting one entity.

For Jews — whose way of life is mandated and geared to wholeness and completeness in all aspects of the everyday life — the said strives assumes the force of an essential and basic imperative —

* * *

The above mentioned two aspects are also reflected in the Korban-Pesach (Pesach Offering) about which the Jewish people in Egypt were Divinely commanded at the beginning of the Month of Geuloh, on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, as an essential prerequisite to Yetzias Mitzraim.

The Korbonos (Offerings) comprise two general categories: Korbonos Yochid (Individual Offerings) and Korbonos-Tzibbur (Collective Offerings), i.e. offerings of individuals as individuals, and offerings brought by, and in behalf of, a collective (Tzibbur) of many individuals, wherein the individual is represented by his personal contribution to the Fund which was annually raised for this purpose.

Now, we find that the Korban-Pesach combined both aspects, for it was at the same time both a Korban-Yochid and, in a sense, a KorbanTzibbur, since it was brought by kenufia (collective of individuals). And both aspects have a distinct emphasis which is not found in other Korbonos:

As a Korban-Yochid, the Korban-Pesach was “individualized” and restricted to the “Menuyim” — the specially “counted-in” participants who had united into a single entity to bring and partake of this Korban Pesach — to the exclusion of all others, for none but the “Menuyim” had, or were permitted to have, any part in it; this was not the case with any other Korban-Yochid (such as the Peace Offering, etc.), where anyone could be invited to partake thereof.

On the other hand, the Korban-Pesach was also, in a sense, a Korban Tzibbur, since all the Jews had to bring it at the same time and in the same manner (roasted on fire); with the added emphasis that unlike other Korbanos-Tzibbur, where the Tzibbur was represented by proxy-emissaries, the Anshei-Maamad — the Korban-Pesach was brought in kenufia, so that the Tzibbur was there in person, as also later at the eating, all having to eat of the Korban-Pesach at the set time, etc. — which was not the case with any other Korban-Tzibbur.

* * *

In the Korban-Pesach itself there is yet another point which indicates the inter-connection of the individual with the Tzibbur, in that the Korban Pesach had to be prepared whole, “with its head, its legs, and its inwards.” The difference and “distance” between the head and legs, etc. is obvious; yet it was required that all components be prepared together and in like manner. The symbolic inference from it is that although a Tzibbur consists of different individuals, of widely ranging levels, from that of “head” to that of “foot,” they nevertheless join together to constitute a Tzibbur and contribute, each his full share, to the Tzibbur.

* * *

How is unity between one individual and another, and between an individual and the collective, achieved? This, too, is indicated in the name “Pesach,” one meaning of which is to “pass over,” more precisely to “leap over,” indicating, among other things, leaping over partitions separating Jew from Jew and individual from community, until all are united and merged into the single organic entity that constitutes the Jewish nation.

To be able to do this, one must first break through the confines of one’s own rational and emotional limitations, and rise above all hindrances and distractions, from within and without, in order to attain the fullest spiritual liberation: the liberation of the very essence of the Jewish self — his “Pintele Yid,” as it is often characterized; this is the way that a Jew aligns himself with his root and source, and with his fellow-Jew and all the Jewish people.

Which is the well-known concept of “Yetzias Mitzraim” in the realm of the spirit.

In practical terms this means that every Jew has been given the capacity, and is expected, to rise above his narrow personal interests for the sake of the overriding interests of the community in which he lives and of Klal Yisroel. On their part, the Tzibbur and Klal Yisroel intervene in behalf of each individual, so that not a single Jew should be lost, G‑d forbid, helping each and all to free themselves from their “Mitzraim,” in whatever form it may be. And the Geuloh of the Klal is contingent upon the Geuloh of the individual as an individual.

* * *

Our Sages declare that the Geuloh from the present Golus will be in the manner of the Geuloh from Egypt, when all Jews — “with our young and our old, with our sons and with our daughers” — without exception, came out of Egypt, not a single Jew was left there; unlike other Geulos — from Babylon, Persia, and Greek oppression — when some Jews remained in Golus. The coming Geuloh through our Righteous Moshiach will be “as in the days of your coming out of Egypt I will show you wonders” — that no Jew will remain in Golus. This underscores again that the Geuloh of Klal Yisroel is bound up with the Geuloh of each individual Jew.

* * *

May G‑d grant that, inasmuch as it is the highest time to prepare for the true and final Geuloh, every Jew and Jewess should become involved in this preparation in the fullest measure; the first step being the same that was called for in connection with the first Korban-Pesach, in Egypt: “Draw and take” — to draw back and away from Avodoh Zoroh (idolatry), including “Avodoh Zoroh” in its subtle aspects, namely, anything that is “Zor” — alien to the spirit and way of Torah-Yiddishkeit, and pursuing this endeavor in regard to both oneself and those around, and more widely, in regard to the environment, the Tzibbur; to help every Jew that can be reached and involved in the said preparation for the Geuloh, through personal commitment to Torah and Mitzvos. For “He established testimony (the Mitzvos) in Jacob, and gave the Torah in (and for everyone in) Israel,” and made these the channels through which to receive His blessings. And be certain of Hatzlocho in all the above because “I will remember Your wonders of old (at the time of Yetzias Mitzraim) and will meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your doings.”

And this profound meditation, translated into action as mentioned above, will hasten still further our welcoming Moshiach Tzidkeinu, together with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters,” at the true and complete Geuloh.

With esteem and blessing for
Hatzlocho in all above, and for
a Kosher and joyous Pesach,

/Signed: M. Schneerson/