Monday, April 06, 2009

Pesach, Halochos and Chumros

COLLive has published this article by Agudas Avreichei Lubavitch of Kolel Menachem which is a translation of a talk by Rabbi Yosef Heller of the Crown Heights Beis Din.

While none of us have much time to spare before Pesach this article is certainly worth a few minutes of one's time. Many Rabbonim and mashpi'im have spoken and written about this topic. I think Rabbi Heller approaches it in a way that many Lubavitchers can relate to. So many of us get carried away with preparations for Pesach and with chumros on Pesach itself. What Rav Heller emphasises is that it is all very well for us to be stringent ourselves but that is not necessarily the correct behaviour when it comes to our family. Shalom Bais should always come before our personal chumros.

Some of what is said which strikes a chord with me:

Many people are more stringent during Pesach than throughout the year; nonetheless, certain priorities must take precedence. Oft times, due to ignorance or unawareness, one is scrupulous in keeping a hiddur yet careless with halacha mandated in shulchan aruch.

There is a saying from the Gerrer rebbe, the Beis Yisroel, concerning this issue. It is written in Shulchan Aruch that many have the custom not to eat nuts during Aseres Yimei Teshuvah, for the word אגוז (nut) has the same gematria as חטא (sin). The Beis Yisroel brings to our attention that the word חטא, also has the same gematria as חטא…
R' Pinchas of Koritz had a student who was extremely scrupulous in keeping out all chometz. During pesach, he only ate at home, not even attending his Rebbe's yom tov meal. Once, during the se'uda of Shvi'i shel Pesach, upon inquiring about his student's whereabouts, R' Pinchas was told that his absence was due to his meticulousness regarding chometz. "In the barrel of water he had prepared for Pesach, lays some chometz," the Rebbe told his students. When the student was thus alerted, he fretfully rushed to R' Pinchas asking how such a calamity had befallen him, especially with all his intense supervision. The Rebbe explained, "Although we are carefull with chometz, we are not angels and require assistance from above. You, however, relied on your own efforts, not depending on Hashem; hence, you were shown from above that such cannot bear proper results…"

Wishing you all a Kosher and Freilichen Pesach