Rav Lieff: Utilizing the Pesach Seder To Educate Your Children


lieffRabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Rav of the Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin in Brooklyn, spoke at a Hakhel lecture program hosted by his shul on 28 Adar/March 14th. The topic of his lecture was “Making the Most of Your Seder and the Practical Halachos of Yom Tov.” Hakhel is a Flatbush-based organization dedicated to promoting a greater awareness of Torah-true values in our community.

Quoting the Rambam, Rabbi Lieff declared that all of the secrets of the universe are hinted in the words and rituals of the Haggadah and Pesach Seder. What is the yesod of the Makkos? One must realize that Hashem created the world from nothing. We have to talk at the Seder about emunah and how all of our Avos are connected to each of the three Yom Tovim.

Pesach relates to Avrohom Avinu who traveled telling people of their obligation to have emunah in the Abishter. Today, Rabbi Lieff said, we don’t have to travel like our first forefather. For on the Pesach Seder night, we have a captive audience – our own children and grandchildren who have joined us for the family Seder.

Rabbi Lieff recalled how a prominent Rosh Yeshiva once braved a severe winter snowstorm to come to his yeshiva and deliver his regularly scheduled shiur. Only two students managed or attempted to come. Yet, the Rosh Yeshiva spoke with all his strength and enthusiasm. Afterwards, one of two talmidim asked why he had bothered to give his utmost when his audience only consisted of two bocherim.

The Rosh Yeshiva responded that when he gave his lecture that morning, he didn’t just see an audience of two. Rather he saw thousands. He was able to look into those two talmidim and speak to their yet unborn children and those unborn children’s future offspring.

Just like that Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Lieff emphasized, we must understand that we too are not just speaking to our children and grandchildren at our family Seder. If we properly utilize the opportunity, we will be effectively making the Seder an experience that our family will remember for many years to come.

The Rav of the Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin noted that to this day, he continues to be inspired by the way his father and father-in-law of blessed memory conducted their Sedorim. And he has added some of their approaches to the way he conducts his own sedorim to this day. And no doubt, this will be continued by his own children and grandchildren who view the way he has incorporated those aspects into his Seder.

Rabbi Lieff quoted Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky, zt”l, the famed Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Torah Vodaath who criticized the fact that many fathers encourage their children to take large portions of the Seder and relate over vortlach on Pesach that they learned in Yeshiva. The true avoda of the Seder is that the father or zeidie instruct the children on this special night. The mitzvah of hagaddita labincha is to retell the important story of our yetzias Mitzrayim to our children in the same manner that we heard it from our fathers and they heard it from their fathers.

It is not only important that we make our Seder complete with delicious foods. But we must also make sure that our less fortunate brethren also have the ability to celebrate the Pesach Seder with kavod and joy. Rabbi Lieff told the story of how once a poor Jew came to the Brisker Rav and asked if one could be yotzei the mitzvah of arba koses by drinking milk instead of wine. The Brisker Rav told the Yid that he would prefer if he used yayin instead of milk and he gave him money in order to buy sufficient wine for all the members of his family.

One of the Brisker Rav’s sons noticed however that his father had given the poor Jew an incredible amount of money, much more than was needed to purchase even the finest wines. He asked why and the Brisker Rav explained that if a Jew can ask if he could fulfill the four cups with milk instead of wine, it must be obvious that he also has no money to purchase meat or chicken for the Seder. Therefore he gave money not just for the wine, but also in excess to purchase whatever else was necessary to make his Seder proper and joyous.

{Daniel Keren-Matzav.com Newscenter}