Pesach is just around the corner. Final preparations. These may be days of tension, waiting in long lines, shouting, fighting. 749 years ago, today, the 11th of Nissan, the Ramban (Nahmanides) passed away. He was one of the greatest thinkers and commentators of our Nation. He left behind the “Iggeret HaRamban” (“Letter from the Ramban”), a spiritual will that he wrote to his son, and which he recommends reading at least once a week. Here is some practical advice from it:
- “Accustom yourself to always speak all of your words calmly, to every man and at every time. In doing so you will prevent your anger from flaring, which is a bad attribute in a man which may cause him to sin. And accordingly said our Rabbis, may their memories be a blessing: (Nedarim 22a) “Anyone who gets angry – all of Gehinnom holds sway over him”.
- “When you will have freed yourself from anger, the quality of humility will enter your heart which is the best of all good traits”.
- “Speak gently at all times… Consider everyone as greater than yourself… Also, when you act humbly and modestly before everyone, and fear God and sin, the radiance of His glory and the spirit of the Shechina (Divine Presence) will rest upon you…”
What does he recommend here? A calm, gentle way of speaking; humility, respect towards others, no matter who they are; running away from anger. In these days, in which so many recipes are posted, this one, too, is a recipe for the eve of Pesach.
In his memory.