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Geshmack Dvar Torah of the Week: The significance of the Yamim Tovim

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The significance of the Yamim Tovim

There is a Mishna in Pirkei Avos (4:28) that says:

רבי אליעזר הקפר אומר, הקנאה והתאווה והכבוד, מוציאין את האדם מן העולם – Rabbi Eliezer said: jealousy, lust and pride removes men from the world.

The Chiddushei Harim explains that the Shalosh Regalim atone for these three. Pesach makes up for תאווה , lust, as we eat לחם עוני , poor man’s bread, which is the basest (and therefore purest?) of all foods, which should theoretically be considered wholly undesirable, and yet it is all we eat for a week, showing how we marginalise our desires, because Hashem asks us to.

Shavuos atones for קנאה , jealousy, as we say that the Torah was given בעין טוב , with a good eye, as opposed to the evil eye, which caused the deaths of R’ Akiva’s students. The submission to keep the Torah shows how the Jews were not looking at what they could get from others, as this was a unique opportunity that Hashem had offered them.

Succos atones for כבוד , pride, as it commemorates our reliance on the ענני הכבוד , the clouds Hashem surrounded us with in the desert. This also shows how we are marginalising ourselves, in that we remember our reliance on Hashem, the opposite of pride, whereby someone tries to make out how independent and great he is.


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