by Rabbi Chaim Gross
Our sages teach us that
each Jewish holiday contains within it both the spiritual experience
of the past and a taste of the future to come. The classic example
of this is Shabbos. It is simultaneously referred to in Kiddush
as both a remembrance of Creation and a semblance of the World to
The seventh day of Passover
commemorates the splitting of the sea. Where here do we find a connection
to both the past and the future?
The Torah tells us,
"And they (Adam and Eve) heard the voice of G-d 'mis-ha-lech'
in the Garden of Eden
" (Genesis 3:8) on which
the Midrash comments, "Rabbi Aba bar Kahana said, walking is
not written here, rather mis-ha-lech -leaping and
ascending. The purpose of creation is that the Divine Presence dwell
among us in this world. When Adam sinned the Divine Presence ascended
to the first level of Heaven." The Midrash continues that subsequently,
six more sins, those of Cain, the generations of Enosh, the Flood
and the Tower of Babel, Sodom and the Egyptians caused the Divine
Presence to ascend to the seventh level of Heaven. Then seven righteous
people brought the Divine Presence back down, Avrohom, Yitzchok,
Yaakov, Levi, K'has(Levi's son), Amram and Moshe.
When did Moshe and the
Jewish people re-achieve that original level of Adam in the Garden
Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe offers
a beautiful answer based on a verse in this week's Song of the Sea.
"This is my G-d and I will praise Him." Our Sages comment
that "a lowly maidservant saw G-d at the sea in a way that
the great prophet Ezekiel never saw Him." Rabbi Wolbe explains
as follows. The prophets would sanctify themselves and ascend unto
Heaven to experience the Divine Presence whereas at the splitting
of the sea on the seventh day of Passover, a maidservant was able
to experience the Divine Presence down here in the material world.
The spiritual reality of the Garden of Eden was revealed here in
this physical world. It was so clear that they could point and say,
"This is my G-d."
This Eden-like experience
lived on in Jewish history for some 1,000 years through the First
Temple period. Rav Wolbe continues, "one who entered the Temple
felt as if he ascended alive into Heaven Temple unified Heaven and
Earth." As for the relationship between the seventh of Passover
and the future, our sages cite the first words of the Song at the
Sea as a source for the concept of eternal life in the World to
Come. Ultimately, in the World to Come, the righteous will dance
around the Divine Presence again, pointing and saying, "Behold,
this is our G-d." Thus, we will have come full circle, the
Garden of Eden, the splitting of the sea on the seventh of Passover
and eternal life in the World to Come. May we merit to see this
speedily, in our days. Good Shabbos.
and İFebruary 5, 1998 by the Chicago Community Kollel