Thursday, April 17, 2008

OUR Holidays and Their Holidays

“Asher Bachar Banu MiKol Am…V’Titein Lanu…BiAhava Moadim LiSimcha Chagim UZmanim LiSason”

“Who Blessed us from all other nations….and gave us…with love the festivals for happiness and holidays to celebrate”

Why is it that specifically during Kiddush and Bircas HaTorah we remember that Hashem chose us from all other nations? Shouldn’t we be doing this for all other mitzvos as well (after all, the other nations weren’t commanded to do the other mitzvos either?!)

HaGaon Rav Avraham Erleinger Shlit”a answers that the other nations of the world also have yomei menucha (rest days). They also have rules and laws that dictate the way that they live. Therefore we say “Ashar Bachar Banu…” to show that there is no connection between our laws and their laws, our days of rest and their days of rest. Our laws come specifically from the fact that we are Hashem’s people. To us the Torah is not just a book of laws; on the contrary it is a living Torah which allows us to live our laws vicariously through it. We don’t have a rest day that we call Shabbos. We have Shabbos that happens to be a day of rest. Our holidays are “Mikra Kodesh” specifically to separate us from the other nations of the world.

What is the reason why is it that we specifically say “Asher Bachar Banu….” On Yom Tov? Because it is on these days more than on any other that we have to proclaim, “Ki Vanu Bacharta ViOtranu Kiddashta MiKol HaAmim UMoadei Kodsheicha, BiSimcha Uvisason Hinchaltanu.”

- From "Bircas Avraham" - On Messeches Pesachim (Kuntris Al HaHaggada)

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You are Sorely Missed!