Chol HaMoed Pesach:
A Time of Connection

Pesach Seder [Passover Meal]

The Passover weekdays (Chol HaMoed Pesach) are much more than mundane. This is a rare time when the light of the holiday is shining, yet constructive activities are encouraged to enhance the day. It is a perfect time to take a vacation, enjoy family, and connect to Hashem. It's easy to snuggle up to a loved one, but how can we feel close to Hashem?

You might be surprised to know that Mid-Passover daysare some of the best times to feel close to Hashem through an ancient affinity. One expression of this fondness towards Hashem was that our forefathers brought special offerings on all seven days of Pesach [Passover].

What do we do now that there is no Temple to go up to?

The prophet Hoshea instructed us what to do when our sins would someday push away Hashem to the point where there would be no Temple in which to bring an offering. In Hosea 14:3 it is written:

"Take with yourselves words,
and return to Hashem; say to Him,
'Carry away all iniquity and take
goodness, and let the words of
our lips substitute for
the bulls of the offerings.

The "words of our lips" symbolize prayer, which brings us close to Hashem, just as the offerings of old did for our ancestors. A new offering was brought on each day, even the weekdays in-between. Consequently, Passover weekdays are the best time to pour out your heart in prayer!

When a form of service is removed from us, one way to keep it alive is to study about it. Whereas the offerings seem to be antiquated, they are actually replete with underlying symbolism. Some of these concepts are very deep, and only the best of scholars can bring out the essence of the mystical meaning. Many Jews feel a special connection to Hashem by studying Torah for the sake of studying itself. However, tradition tells us that of the six orders of the Mishna, the order expounding upon the offerings brings wisdom to the one studying it. One of the reasons that mundane labor is encouraged during mid-Passover is to make daily activities easier, and thereby allow us time to study. Passover weekdays are a great time to visit a Kollel [Jewish study hall] and discover the hidden wisdom of Torah.

People gave an offering according to the ability that Hashem granted them. Each of us have been given unique bodies and special talents. One way to express gratitude to Hashem is to use your abilities to do good deeds. (This is especially easy during the first week of the Omer count [see Counting the Omer] when an extra portion of Chesed [charity; favor] is available for us to use.) General acts of kindness, gifts to the poor, making a match for a single person to get married, visiting the sick, bringing peace between people, honoring parents, showing hospitality to guests... the opportunities are almost limitless!

May your Passover weekdays shine with the light of connection to Hashem.

Moadim L'Simcha
[Happy Intermediate Festival Days],
The Jewlight Staff.

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