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04                                             tion and oppression of the enslavement, factors beyond their

                                                                control, and therefore they could not be held responsible for
                 A Message from our Rabbi                       their actions.
                                  Rabbi Dale Polakoff           The Beit HaLevi explains that the principle of ones applies only
                                                                if, were the obstacle not in place, the behavior wouldn’t have
                                                                happened, or the mitzvah would have been performed. The
                                                                wording of the pasuk “and He knew” is understood by the Beit
                                                                HaLevi to mean that Hashem knew that Bnei Yisrael were only
                                                                worshipping idols due to the harshness of the slavery. He also
                                                                knew, that, once the slavery was no longer an obstacle, Bnei
                                                                Yisrael would rise to the occasion.

                                                                As we enter a Pesach not quite normal but certainly much bet-
                                                                ter than last year, the question that confronts us is whether or
                                                                not we will rise to the occasion. Will we embrace the leniencies
                                                                of last year as a way to “get around’ the normal requirements,
                                                                or will we rise to the occasion of infusing this coming Pesach
                                                                with all of the meaning and observance that proved so difficult
                                                                last year. Hashem knows, but He’s waiting to get the answer
      Last year we prepared for Pesach in                       from us.
      a world that could hardly have been                       Ellen joins me in wishing you a sweet, happy and kosher Pesach.
      imagined. Shuls were closed, families
      were apart from each other, many
      sedarim were done alone for the first
      time in anyone’s memory.                                  Rabbi Dale Polakoff

      We struggled to shop, and the stores struggled to keep up, and
      there were people who wondered if they would even have food for
      Pesach. Our poskim realized these struggles and their courageous
      and often very lenient opinions helped us to have the best Pesach
      possible under the circumstances.

      This year, as of the time this is being written, things are signifi-
      cantly better. Shuls are open, even if limited in capacity. Many of
      our older members have received or will receive a vaccine against
      Covid that might allow them to join with their families and loved
      ones. People are much more comfortable going out and shopping
      than they were a year ago. It still won’t be a regular, normal Pe-
      sach, but at least we’re headed in a better direction.
      Yetziat Mitzrayim began with Bnei Yisrael crying out to Hashem.
      The Torah tells us that Hashem saw Bnei Yisrael and He knew
      (Shmot 2:25). What was it that Hashem knew that moved this pro-
      cess of redemption forward?
      Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, known as the Beit HaLevi, (1820-1892,
      the great grandfather of my Rebbe, Rav Soloveitchik), suggest-
      ed an explanation based on a passage in the aggadic work, the
      Yalkut Shimoni. The midrash notes that the angel of Mitzrayim
      argued against the redemption of Bnei Yisrael, claiming that they
      were  currently  worshipping  idols  just  as  the  Egyptians  were.
      Hashem responded to this claim by exempting Bnei Yisrael on the   Halacha embraces the concept of ones
      basis of ones - circumstances beyond their control.               rachmana patrei - a person faced with
                                                                       obstacles beyond his control is not held
      Halacha embraces the concept of ones rachmana patrei - a per-          responsible for his failure to
      son faced with obstacles beyond his control is not held respon-             perform a mitzvah.
      sible for his failure to perform a mitzvah. Accordingly, Hashem
      answered the angel of Mitzrayim that although it’s true that Bnei
      Yisrael were indeed worshipping idols, it was due to the persecu-

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