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Arranging our shelves, arranging the world

נקיון פסח

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

As Pesach approaches, I have been organizing my shelves. I have noticed that many items I threw away had been taking up a lot of space and had been hiding things that I really needed. I could have thrown out these extraneous items a long time ago or given them away to others who could have benefitted from them. Upon finishing this task, the feeling was so good since every item was now in its proper place.

The Maharal wrote that exile is when things are not in their proper place. Redemption is when they are.

When the nation of Israel is in Egypt — that’s exile. When the nation is in its proper place, in the land of Israel — that’s redemption.

When the hostages are in tunnels in Gaza — that’s exile. When they return with God’s help to their homes , healthy and whole, to their fathers and mothers — that will be redemption.

When the evacuees from the north and the south are still in hotels and temporary housing — that’s exile. When they will live securely in their homes — that will be redemption.

When teenagers are alienated and do not find their place in the world, when unmarrieds are getting older and have not yet found a spouse with whom to build a home, when I am looking at WhatsApp instead of focusing on the person opposite me — these are exile too.

As Pesach approaches, our prayer is that everything will return to its proper place. Just as we organize and clean our homes, so too should God bring order to the entire world. Hamas, for example, should finally be tossed into the dust bin of history. When every item in the world is exactly where it belongs, we call this redemption.


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