Thursday, March 29, 2018



                    During his youth, Rabbi Yisroel Gustman zt’l[1] was a student of Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grozdenski zt’l. On a number of occasions, Rabbi Gustman had the privilege of accompanying his Rebbe on walks through the forest. During their walks they would converse about Torah issues.
                   One time during such a walk, Rabbi Chaim Ozer suddenly stopped and pointed to a blade of grass. He instructed Rav Gustman to study it carefully. He then explained that a person with no other food can survive for long periods of time by eating that type of grass. On a second occasion while they were walking, Rabbi Chaim Ozer pointed to a second tree and again noted said that one can survive for a long time by only eating the leaves from that tree.
                    It was very uncharacteristic for Rav Chaim Ozer to interrupt their Talmudic discussion for any reason, certainly for botanical knowledge.
A few years later, during the second World War, Rabbi Gustman joined a band of partisans who hid in the forest all day, and emerged at night to shoot at the Nazis. At certain points, he and his comrades had no food, and were only able to survive by eating those edible grasses and leaves that Rav Chaim Ozer had showed him.
                    Many years later someone walked by the home of Rabbi Gustman in Yerushalayim and saw the elderly respected Rabbi watering, planting, and seeding the garden in front of his home. When asked why he was so busy with his garden, Rabbi Gustman replied that it was his way of expressing hakaras hatov (appreciation) to the plants for protecting him during the war years.

                    . The majestic Seder table Seder has an air of regal beauty. But all of the exterior beauty pales in comparison to the main focus of the night, the unique mitzvah of ‘Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim - to recount the story of the exodus.’ About this beloved mitzvah, the Haggadah itself proclaims, וכל המרבה לספר ביציאת מצרים הרי זה משובח - Whoever elaborates about the story of the exodus is praiseworthy.”     
                    Maharal[2] takes issue with the concept of elaborating on the story of the exodus and praising G-d ceaselessly on Seder night. The Gemara[3] relates that a man was once praying and lauding G-d with many lavish expressions, “The Great One, the Strong One, the Awesome One, the Courageous One, etc.” When the man completed his prayers, Rabbi Chaninah who was standing nearby asked him, “Have you finished relating the praises of your Master? It is a disgrace for a mortal to try to begin to relate the praises of G-d. This is analogous to a billionaire who is praised for being a wealthy millionaire, for what we know of G-d’s greatness doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the extent of His praises. It is only permitted for us to state the praises we say in our prayers because the Sages have instructed us to say those specific ones. But to say anything more is improper and, in fact, will have an adverse effect.” 
                    If so, how can it be permitted, and even praiseworthy, to embellish the praises of G-d on Seder night?
                    Maharal explains that the mitzvah of Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim on Seder night is not merely to praise G-d for the miracles, but rather to express personal gratitude for the exodus.
At the conclusion of Maggid we state: “One is obligated to view himself as if he is going out of Egypt”. The exodus is not a tale of the past, but is an experience we relive each year. Therefore, it behooves us to elaborate on the myriad miracles and salvation that occurred. If someone does a tremendous kindness for another, there is no limit to the appreciation he can express. On Pesach, G-d not only redeemed us from physical bondage, but He also saved us from spiritual bondage. Seder night marks not only the end of our exile in Egypt but also the commencement of our quest to develop our national identity as the Chosen Nation.
Unlike any other time of year, when it is forbidden to praise G-d in our own way, on Seder night the ‘floodgates of praise’ are unleashed and our mouths incessantly speak, laud, praise, and thank G-d in our own way, because everyone has their own unique connection and reasons to be thankful for the redemption.

One would think that the Haggadah should include the text of the first few parshios in Chumash Shemos that describe in vivid detail the whole story of Klal Yisroel’s descent into exile, the bitter servitude, and the ultimate redemption. One would think that the core of the Haggadah would be the recitation of these parshios with their many commentaries, especially focusing on the Ten Plagues.
But this is not the case. In fact, at the heart of ‘Maggid’ we quote the verses that the Torah commands a farmer to recite when bringing his bekurim (first fruits) to the Bais Hamikdash[4]. It is specifically these verses that we expand upon and speak about. What is the connection between bekurim and Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim?
The mitzvah of bekurim is to be an expression of gratitude. A farmer toils throughout the summer months in his field, plowing, seeding, reaping, pruning, etc. One can only imagine his immense joy when he sees the first ‘fruits of his labor’ sprouting forth. He feels a tremendous sense of accomplishment and pride from those fruits.[5] Yet the farmer takes those fruits directly to the Bais Hamikdash symbolizing his understanding that he owes all of his accomplishments to G-d. The bekurim were brought up to Yerushalayim in expensive baskets as the farmer walked with a whole entourage. Bands played music and wherever the procession went people would stop to sing and dance with the farmer and praise G-d for all the good He constantly grants. 
    The offering of bekurim was an inspirational event that infused all - especially the farmer - with a joyous reverence for G-d. The climax of the offering was when the farmer arrived in the Bais Hamikdash and, after the Kohain ritually waved the bikurim, the farmer stated the verses of gratitude to G-d commencing with Lavan’s efforts to destroy our forefather Yaakov, continuing with the whole ordeal of our exile and redemption, and concluding with our being granted Eretz Yisroel as our holy homeland so that now he had the opportunity to work the land and produce its holy fruits.
Therefore, it is apropos that the crux of Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim is our repetition and elaboration on the verses said by one who brings his bekurim because both Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim and bekurim are expressions of uninhibited gratitude to G-d.

During bentching (Barech) on Seder night, it is customary to recite a unique prayer:הרחמן הוא ינחילנו ליום שכולו טוב ליום שכולו ארוך ליום שצדיקים יושבים ועטרותיהם בראשיהם ונהנים מזיו השכינה ויהיה חלקנו עמהם - May the merciful One cause us to inherit a day of complete goodness, a day which is unending, a day when the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads and bask in the splendor of the Shechinah, and may our portions be among them.”
What is the meaning behind this prayer?
Immediately following the Torah’s commanding about the bekurim the pasuk states that G-d has commanded all these mitzvos, “To make you supreme over all the nations that He has made, for renown, and for splendor, and so that You will be a holy nation to Hashem, your G-d, as He spoke.”[6]
Ba’al HaTurim comments: “This is to say, that when Klal Yisroel praise and laud G-d it is for them the greatest of splendor, as Chazal say that in the future G-d will place on the head of every tzaddik the crown that the Tzaddik himself constructed with his prayers…”
Praising G-d merits the adornment of a crown in the next world. Therefore, on Seder night when we are praising G-d without restraint, we pray that the righteous be worthy of those crowns and that we too should merit them through our Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim on this night.[7] 
This concept is clearly enumerated in the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvos: “The 157th mitzvah is our commandment to recount the exodus from Egypt on the fifteenth night of Nisan at the beginning of the night, according to the expression of the speaker. The more one adds and expounds on retelling all that G-d did for us and how He exacted revenge from the Egyptians for oppressing and enslaving us and the more one praises Him for all that He has done for us in His infinite kindness, the better. This is the explanation of what we say in the Haggadah, “Whoever elaborates on the story of the exodus is praiseworthy.”  
In Mishnah Torah[8] the Rambam adds, “…The mitzvah is to expound on the verses of ‘Arami oved avi’ (i.e. the verses stated by one who brings bekurim) and anyone who adds and lengthens his discussion in expounding these verses is praiseworthy.”

With this in mind we can understand why Hallel is divided into two distinct sections during the Seder. The first section comprising the first two paragraphs is recited at the conclusion of Maggid, while the remaining majority is recited following bentching.
The first two chapters of Hallel describe the trek of a downtrodden nation suddenly raised to newfound freedom. These opening verses describe in beautiful detail the grace and beauty that can be found in praising G-d.
The remainder of Hallel however, seems like an anomaly. It does not merely contain praise, hymnal singing or thanksgiving. Rather, it contains petitions beautifully interwoven with heartfelt thanksgiving. The remainder of Hallel describes a free people delivered and liberated, yet vulnerable and defenseless. “Not for our sake Hashem…but for Your sake give glory…”, “Please Hashem for I am Your servant…”, “Sorrow and despair have overtaken me, and I call out to G-d”, “Please G-d, save please!”
Why is this Hallel at all?
In truth, the second section of Hallel is as vital as the first. If G-d saved us and had given us all we need to be independently secure in the future, we wouldn’t need to pray to Him anymore. Therefore, after stating that there is nothing greater than praising G-d and mentioning his miraculous salvation, we proclaim that despite all He has done for us until now, we continue to need Him during every moment of our lives. That proclamation that we still need G-d is, in fact, the ultimate expression of praise to G-d.
The mitzvah of Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim was exclusively dedicated to praising G-d and expressing our gratitude to Him. Therefore, the opening verses of Hallel that are solely expressions of praise are part and parcel of Sippur Yetzias Mitzrayim.
The remainder of Hallel which contain a combination of praise and supplication is only recited over the fourth cup of wine, which symbolizes Klal Yisroel’s sojourns beyond the redemption from Egypt.
The night of Pesach must fill us with an appreciation not only of the miracles of the exodus for which we continue to be grateful today but also for the daily miracles we experience constantly. For our lives, which are committed to Your power and for our souls that are entrusted to You.”

“A day when the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads”
“Whoever elaborates about the story of the exodus is praiseworthy!”

Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW
Rabbi, Kehillat New Hempstead
Rebbe/Guidance Counselor – Heichal HaTorah
Principal – Ohr Naftoli- New Windsor

[1] (1908-1991); Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Netzach Yisrael. Before the war he was the youngest dayan in the court of Rav Chaim Ozer Grozdenski zt’l
[2] Gevuros Hashem chapter 1
[3] Berochos 33b
[4] Devorim (26:5-8)
[5] It is analogous to the first dollar one earns in a new business that people often hang on their wall.
[6] Devorim 26:19
[7] Heard from my Rebbe, Rabbi Yitzchok Heimowitz
[8] Chometz Umatzah 7:4

Thursday, March 22, 2018



Rabbi Elimelech Biderman relates:
A person wakes up in the morning and makes himself a cup of coffee. He pours the bitter coffee into a mug, adds some sweet sugar, pours in the boiling water, and then adds some cold milk.
He lifts the cup of contrasts – bitter, sweet, hot, and cold, and utters the beracha, “Shehakol nihyeh b’dvaro – that all came into being based on His word.” The underlying message he is saying is “Hashem, I have no idea what today has in store for me. Perhaps it will be bitter, perhaps sweet, perhaps hot, and perhaps cold, and perhaps a little bit of each. But the one thing I know for certain is that everything that happens to me is based upon Your word.
That is how a Jew begins his morning. Life is a sea of contrasts, but we are always in the Hands of Hashem.

In Parshas Vayikra, the Torah introduces the concept of korbanos, and explains many of the laws associated with each individual korban from the vantage point of “the owner” offering the Korban. Parshas Tzav reviews the korabnos from the vantage point of the Kohain who is offering the animal (or bird, or flour/oil) on behalf of the owner upon the Mizbeiach. 
There are two categories of korbanos: kodshei kodshim (lit. holy of holies) and kodshim kalim (lit. lighter holiness). Kodshei kodshim can only be eaten by kohanim in the Temple courtyard, for the remainder of the day and the following evening after they are offered. Kodshim kalim on the other hand, were be eaten by the owner and his family throughout Yerushalayim, for an added day.
The notable exception is the Korbon Todah – the thanksgiving offering.[2] The Torah states “And the flesh of his feast thanksgiving-peace offering must be eaten on the day of its offering; he shall not leave any of it until morning.”[3]Even though the Korban Todah is in the category of kodshim kalim, it was only allowed to be eaten for one day and one night. 
The Netziv in Ha’amek Davar explains that the Korban Todah was brought as an expression of gratitude and thanksgiving to Hashem for His protection during a perilous juncture in one’s life. Because there was such a large amount of meat that had to be consumed in such a small amount of time, in addition to the forty loaves of bread that the Kohanim had to eat, the owner offering the korban would be compelled to invite many friends and guests, as well as many Kohanim, to partake in his meal. He would surely explain to them the reason for the time-limited invitation and recount to them his heartfelt gratitude to Hashem, thus publicizing the chesed that Hashem did for him.
The Netziv is conveying that any time one merits special favor and blessing from Hashem it is a mitzvah to publicly thank Hashem for what transpired, and to invite many people to join the celebration. This is part of the idea of making a Kiddush. As the invitees eat and enjoy, they invariably discuss the reason for the Kiddush, and thereby join in the ba’al simcha’s gratitude to Hashem.

Rav Shimshon Pincus zt’l[4] notes that if a man goes to the supermarket to buy bread and other food, he must pay for it. But if the same man is invited to the storeowner’s home for a meal and is served the same food, he doesn’t pay a penny.
The same idea applies to the recitation of berachos. Anything one wants/needs belongs to Hashem and must be ‘paid for’. However, if he develops a loving relationship with G-d, then he can eat from the Heavenly table, and when one eats at the storeowner’s table he doesn’t receive a bill.
A Bracha is not a “payment” for one’s food. Rather, it is a means of developing a relationship with Hashem, which circumvents the need to “pay.”
Rav Pincus explains[5] that one of our greatest challenges is that we are always harried and busy. We simply have no time to stop and focus on what we are doing, and that includes reciting berachos. We swallow the beracha with the food because we aren’t careful to recite the words properly, never mind focusing on their meaning.
Without thinking about what we are doing, what ours goals are, and what the meaning of it all is, we are like animals who live based on instinct.
One should take a moment to contemplate that he is eating to give himself strength. Then he should ponder what he ultimately needs strength for. If he reminds himself that he isn’t merely eating to quell his hunger pains, but so that he can be productive and live a life of meaning in serving Hashem, then he will recite the beracha with greater focus and appreciation.
One who trains himself to live life that way, will be able to connect with Hashem throughout his day.
Prior to Makkas Barad (the plague of hail), Moshe warned Pharaoh of what was to come. However, he also added that there was a way that the Egyptians could save themselves and their livestock.Whoever among the servants of Pharaoh feared the word of Hashem chased his servants and his livestock to the houses. And whoever did not take the word of Hashem to heart – he left his servants and livestock in the field.”[6]
What does it mean to fear Hashem?
The Torah contrasts those who feared G-d and hearkened to the message of Moshe, with those who “did not take the Word of G-d to heart” and did not hearken to his message. The essence of yiras Hashem is to pay attention, and to be ‘tuned in’. One who has yiras Hashem lives with the feeling that He is always in the presence of G-d and therefore must act the part to the best of his ability. It’s not a feeling of paranoia, but a feeling of regal responsibility.
Consider the following:
“How many times a day do you glance at your wristwatch? Let’s say you look at the time twice an hour, maybe three times. Let’s assume that you get up at seven and go to bed at twelve midnight. So, on average, you look at your watch some 50 times a day - 50 times a day, seven days a week. Let’s say your watch is two years old. So you’ve looked at your watch approximately 35,000 times.
“Now, without looking, write down what’s written on the face of your watch? The chances are that you left something out or got something wrong.
“You can look at the same thing, day in, day out, but if you don’t pay attention, you’ll never really see it.”[7]
That’s the idea of yiras Hashem. One can know there’s a G-d, believe the Torah’s true, and perform all the mitzvos, yet never achieve awareness of G-d.
One of our generations’ greatest religious defects is apathy and indifference. Not “putting your heart into it” is a lack of yiras Hashem, and yiras Hashem is the foundation for bringing Hashem into our lives.
Rav Pinkus teaches us that reciting berachos more patiently and with more fervor is a great starting point.
 The essence of Pesach is to develop that feeling of connection with Hashem. We begin by recounting the incredible things Hashem did for us at the time of the exodus and express our unbridled gratitude for it. Hopefully, not only the taste of the matzah, but also its timeless message, will linger in our souls long after the holiday has ended.

Thanksgiving offering must be eaten on the day of its offering”
Whoever feared the word of Hashem”

Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW
Rabbi, Kehillat New Hempstead
Rebbe/Guidance Counselor – Heichal HaTorah
Principal – Ohr Naftoli- New Windsor

[1] Based on the lecture given at Kehillat New Hempstead, Shabbos Kodesh parshas Tzav 5778.
[2] The Korban Todah was offered by one who experienced salvation from particularly perilous situations – crossing a desert, crossing an ocean, being released from prison, or being cured from a dangerous illness.
[3] Vayikra 7:15 
[4] Nefesh Shimshon, Siddur Ha’Tefilla, Bircas Hashachar; Rav Pincus yahrtzeit is 12 Nissan. 
[5] Haggadah Shel Pesach – Barech
[6] Shemos 9:20
[7] Ohr Somayach, Torah Weekly, Parshas Vaera

Thursday, March 15, 2018


לזכר נשמת זקני ר' אברהם יוסף בן נפתלי הערץ הלוי (ד' ניסן)
 מלכה בת אברהם יעקב הלוי (ג' ניסן)


Simon Sinek[2] related the following anecdote:
 “I was present recently at a large conference where a former undersecretary of defense was invited to speak. He was standing at the podium with a cup of coffee in a Styrofoam cup, and delivering his prepared remarks with a power point behind him. Then, he stopped to sip his coffee, and smiled.
“He then looked at the crowd and said he wanted to share something personal: “Last year when I spoke at this conference, I was still the undersecretary. I was flown here business class and when I arrived at the airport there was somebody waiting for me to take me to my hotel. When I arrived, I had already been checked in and I was led straight up to my room. The following morning, when I came downstairs, I was greeted cheerfully in the lobby, and was chauffeured to this venue. I was led through the back entrance into the green room and was handed a cup of coffee in a beautiful ceramic cup.
“But this year I am no longer the undersecretary. I flew here coach, took a taxi to my hotel, and checked myself in. When I came down the lobby this morning I took another taxi here, and I came in the front door and had to find my way backstage. When I asked someone if there was any coffee available, he pointed to the coffee machine in the corner. I then poured myself a cup of coffee into this Styrofoam cup.
“It taught me a very important lesson. The ceramic cup I was given last year was never really meant for me; it was meant for the position I held. In truth, I deserve a Styrofoam cup.
“Remember this as you gain fame, as you gain fortune, as you gain position and seniority. People will treat you better; they will hold doors open for you. They will get you a cup of tea and coffee without you even asking. They will call you sir and ma’am and they will give you stuff. You have to remember that none of that stuff was meant for you; it’s meant to honor the position you hold. It is meant for the level you have achieved of leader or success or whatever you want to call it. But you will always only deserve a Styrofoam cup.”

One of the laws the Torah states about offerings is, “For you shall not cause offerings to [go up in] smoke with any yeast or honey.” Shortly after, the Torah instructs, “you shall offer salt on all your offerings...”[3] Every offering brought on the altar required that it first be salted. Yet, it was absolutely forbidden to ever place sugar on an offering.
Rav Mordechai Gifter zt’l[4] explained that these laws contain a poignant symbolic message for us: There is a fundamental difference between the way sugar and salt impact food. When a sweetener is added to food, it alters the taste of the food. When sugar is added to a bowl of oatmeal, the oatmeal itself doesn’t become sweet, it’s the sweetness of the sugar that is now tasted in every bite. Salt however, enhances the essential taste of the food by strengthening the actual taste.
The symbolic message is that yeast, which inflates, and honey, which changes the true taste of a food, should not be brought on the Altar. Only salt, which brings forth the true flavor of the food, is required. The Torah wants the true essence of the Korban to come forth and not be masked or transformed into something different.
Although we want to imbue our children with confidence and self-esteem, we need to be careful to not inflate their perceptions of themselves, thereby promoting arrogance and egocentricity. Our role as educators is to try to build our children by promoting and enhancing the uniqueness they naturally possess. We cannot make them into something they are not! The greatest thing we can do is help them appreciate and love who they naturally are, all the while helping them improve and learn to navigate their deficiencies and challenges.[5]

 When the Torah describes a person who sins, it refers to him as "ונפש כי תחטא"  a soul that sins, emphasizing the role of the nefesh in his misdeed.
However, when the Torah introduces the korbanos at the beginning of the parashah, it uses the term adam אדם כי יקריב, which refers to the physical component of a person[6]. Why is that?
Rabbi Nissan Kaplan explains that truthfully it is the nefesh of a person that bears responsibility for all iniquity, because it is a failure of one’s spirituality that he failed to restrain himself from committing the sin. However, when discussing a korban, the Torah emphasizes that it must come from the physical component of the sinner, from the adam. In bringing a korban, a person must sanctify the physical part of himself and demonstrate self-sacrifice by offering part of his physical being.
Rashi[7] notes that when the Torah discusses the minchah of a pauper, it says ונפש כי תקריב, and not אדם כי יקריב , as it does in regard to other korbanos. The pauper doesn't have anything to give - he scrapes together whatever he can until he manages to bring a minchah. Therefore, Hashem considers it as if he offered his nefesh. Regarding other korbanos however, the sinner has to offer a piece of himself to demonstrate a genuine desire to rectify his sin.
Rabbi Kaplan relates that a wealthy individual once approached him saying that he felt he needed a tikkun (spiritual rectification) and was therefore prepared to donate a large amount to tzedakah. Rabbi Kaplan replied that although he should undoubtedly give tzedakah, that was insufficient for him because it wasn’t hard for him to give. In addition to the tzedakah, he had to demonstrate personal sacrifice for Hashem, such as adding time to Torah study, resolving not to talk during davening, or not to browse on his phone at things he shouldn’t be looking at. 
For a korban to have its desired effect, the one offering it had to offer his “adam” a piece of himself.
The Medrash notes that there is an ancient custom that when children begin learning Chumash, they begin with Parshas Vayikra because, יבואו טהורין ויתעסקו בטהורים  - let those who are pure (children) come and engage in (the study of) matters of purity (korbanos).
We start with Chumash Vayikra to symbolize to the young child the concept of אדם כי יקריב that a person has to offer Hashem the part of himself - the adam - that is hard for him to sacrifice.
The harder it is to sacrifice something for Hashem, the greater the korbon it is.
In a Sefer Torah, the opening word of the Chumash, in fact, the word that gives the title to the entire sefer – Vayikra – has a small aleph. The Baal HaTurim explains that in his humility, Moshe wanted to write the word vayikar (Vayikra without the aleph), which sounds like the word mikreh – a chance occurrence. Moshe didn’t want to write Vayikra which implies a calling of love. Hashem had instructed him to write Vayikra, so as a compromise he wrote the aleph small.
The entire Chumash contains that lesson in its title; the incredible humility of Moshe. It is that humility which contains the secret for how korbanos are effective. When we humble ourselves before Hashem and seek to build ourselves from within, we connect with Hashem and discover our true greatness.

Our egos are compared to ‘the yeast in dough’. Our ego comprises our sense of self, which is vital to a healthy identity. It is our ego which propels us to accomplish and to grow. But at the same time our egos are always in danger of becoming inflated with ‘hot air’. This occurs when our sense of identity becomes befuddled, and we no longer appreciate our uniqueness. A false ego can persuade us that trivialities are hugely significant, and we can easily be distracted from what truly matters. Just as a healthy ego helps us love, compassionate, and sensitive to others, it also can cause us to become self-absorbed, envious, and hateful.
Matzah, which consists of nothing more than flour and water which has not been allowed to leaven, symbolizes self-negation before G-d. It is flat and contains nothing other than the barest essentials, demonstrating that we are nothing without G-d.
Matzah which symbolizes humility contains the lesson of the korbanos. This is part of the depth of the special mitzvah we are blessed to be able to fulfill by eating matzah throughout Pesach.[8]

One of the humblest people I was privileged to know was my Sabbah, Mr. Abe Staum, Avrohom Yosef ben Naftali Hertz a’h. He was a beloved personality to his neighbors and friends, always with a smile and a pleasant word. Much of the chessed he performed we will probably never know about. Such quiet greatness stems from a sense of humility and simchas hachaim – genuine happiness with life. His yahrzteit, 4 Nissan, is this Tuesday. May his neshama have an Aliyah, and may he be a maylitz yosher for his family and Klal Yisroel.     

“When a man will offer from you a korbon to Hashem”
“You shall offer salt on all your offerings”

Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW
Rabbi, Kehillat New Hempstead
Rebbe/Guidance Counselor – Heichal HaTorah
Principal – Ohr Naftoli- New Windsor

[1] Based on the lecture given at Kehillat New Hempstead, Shabbos Kodesh parshas Vayikra 5777.
[2] Simon Sinek is an author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant. He related this story during a lecture entitled “Find your Greatness”.
[3] Vayikra 2:11,13
[4] Pirkei Torah
[5] This educational thought based on Rav Gifter’s explanation is from Rav Mordechai Shifman, Head of School, Emek Hebrew Academy, Sherman Oaks, CA
[6] Adam comes from the word adamah – earth, a reference to the fact that Adam was created from the dust of the earth.
[7] Menachos 
[8] Although there are opinions that hold matzah is only a mitzvah to eat at the Seder, and is merely permitted the rest of Pesach, the Vilna Gaon holds that every bite of matzah eaten throughout Pesach is a mitzvah and gives us a spiritual infusion of faith in Hashem.