Israel Forever

For the week ending 10 March 2007 / 20 Adar I 5767

Getting Ready for Pesach in More than One Way

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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When Jews had an opportunity to offer a korban Pesach — a Passover sacrifice — in the time of the Beit Hamikdash, they had to ensure that they were qualified to do so. If anyone had been in contact with a dead body, which rendered him spiritually impure, he had to undergo a purification process utilizing the ashes of the para aduma – the red heifer.

This is why on the Shabbat following Purim we read the maftir called Parshat Para to remind us that when the opportunity will come to once again offer a Pesach sacrifice, we must prepare ourselves through purification.

One of the ways that Jews traditionally prepare themselves today for celebrating Pesach as the festival of freedom is to help free needy Jews from the burden of poverty that prevents them from properly celebrating this great holiday. Just as we read in this week's Torah portion of the outpouring of silver half-shekel coins for building the Mishkan Sanctuary, so too do we proudly see Jews today generously contributing to the Maot Chittin and Kimcha da'Pischa funds to help the needy prepare for Pesach.

This is the wonderful spirit of charity that protects Israel forever.

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