What is the Torah so interested that Pesach should fall out in the Chodesh Ha’aviv? What’s the difference which season we celebrate Pesach?
Why is the Torah interested that Pesach should come out in this month, in the spring month when things are growing?
And the answer is that the Torah wants us to celebrate Pesach with a certain amount of physical gratitude, physical happiness. Every Yom Tov you know has two names. We call Shavuos, the Yom Tov of the Giving of the Torah, but it’s called Chag Habikurim in the Torah, the Yom Tov of the Ripe Fruits. How does that fit in? The answer is that when you’re munching a tasty ripe fruit it’s much easier to appreciate the giving of the Torah. That’s why when you make a siyum, when you complete a sefer of the Torah you eat. Why should you eat? What’s eating got to do with studying Torah? The answer is, when you’re eating it’s easier to appreciate the spiritual things.
And that’s why Succos is called Chag Ha’asif, the Festival of the Ingathering of the Crops. Why mention crops? Who’s talking about crops? We’re talking now about remembering the sukkos that our forefathers made!
The answer is, then you have your harvest secure in your bins, and your storehouses are bursting with wheat, with barley, with rye, and you have big barrels full of wine and you have oil and you’re all set now for the winter, for a long winter of many good meals, of good times, then it’s easier to celebrate the Yom Tov.
And that’s why Pesach comes in the Aviv; that’s when the grain is ready for reaping. It’s for the purpose of making us more grateful and more capable of appreciating the lessons we’re going to be studying all Pesach long.
Shabbos is the same; why do you have to eat challos on Shabbos and drink wine? We should sit down on an empty table, with a white tablecloth if you wish, and the lady of the house should serve chumashim and that’s all. And we should study about the creation of the world. The answer is, when you’re eating challah and fish and chicken and other good things, it’s easier to be grateful and to be inspired to noble thoughts.
So remember, next time you pull in a boy from the street and try to make him observant, don’t feed him merely with spiritual things; make sure there are a lot of peanuts on the table and candy and cake and soda; soda is the most important of all! And as he drinks the soda, the message will go down with it.
And that’s the whole Torah, the Torah is toras chaim, the Torah of living. Our Torah is a Torah of living. And that’s why there is no such thing as telling a man to be righteous and don’t get married, to be in a cell all your life – that doesn’t go, this type of stuff is not real; the Torah says that everybody should get married. Everybody!
All of our great men lived Torah lives and normal lives. The Torah is tied up with normal life according to the great expert of human nature – that’s Hakodosh Boruch Hu. If you divorce idealism from happy living, then it means you’re forcing it into an unnatural course which cannot succeed.
TAPE # 116 (April 1976)