A Tuesday TorahTutors tidbit: real Torah, from real TorahTutors sessions – just in time for Pesach.
An adult student learning the tenth chapter of Gemara Pesachim saw in the first mishna that one should not start a meal late in the afternoon on Erev Pesach. The Gemara notes that this halacha actually applies to all holidays and Shabbat. Why, then, is Pesach singled out? To teach that in the case of Pesach, the halacha is unanimous: According to Rabbi Yosi, one may start a meal close to mincha time (nine hours into the day) on the afternoon preceding another holiday or Shabbat – but when it comes to Erev Pesach, he agrees that this is too late.
Why is there more reason to be stringent with regard to Pesach?
Pesach night brings a special obligation to eat matzah, and the Sages said matzah should be eaten b’teiavon – with appetite. Rambam explains that by staying hungry for the matzah, we will be looking forward to it (who isn’t, after a long maggid??) and experience a love for doing mitzvot.
Perhaps we can suggest further that on this holiday that marks the beginning of the Jewish people as a nation, it is particularly meaningful to build a sense of excitement at doing God’s mitzvot and to remember that each time we do a mitzvah, it should be more than a rote act like eating, but something we anctipate with excitement. Even if we have to plan a little and prepare ourselves to experience that excitement.
Wishing all our students, teachers, and friends a happy, healthy, and kosher Pesach!