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Divrei Yoel Shabbos Hagadol

1. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel describes the tumah of mitzrayim as laziness and "drunkenness." The question that arises, however, is that this seems to be a strange description of Mitzrayim's impurity since the aveiros in which the Mitzrim were immersed were not necessarily aveiros involving laziness. Rather, the Mitzrim seemed to be very enthusiastic about the aveiros of immorality and idol worship. However, the Rebbe is telling us that these aveiros stemmed, in fact, from a concept of indolence. Perhaps, the Rebbe is explaining to us what only seems to be an irony. Someone who passionately and energetically pursues aveiros derives this energy from the laziness of his neshama. This laziness of the soul, brought on, perhaps, by indulgence in sin or by a warped mindset, creates ardent passion and energy for aveiros.

This is the situation to which the Jews in Mitzrayim were exposed, and unfortunately, many succumbed to temptation and became involved in the sins of the Egyptian culture around them. Today, we can see around us that the evil people have an inordinate amount of energy for their sins. Normally, the yetzer hara influences a person to be indolent, but when it comes to aveiros, so many people seem to have limitless vitality. This misapplication of motivating energy derives from the spiritual laziness that, as explained above, leads to enthusiasm for all the worst sins. This is very apparent today in many ways. The state of Israel was not formed and built through laziness on the part of the Zionists, rather through great effort.

2. In the Haggada of Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, discusses the unfathomable greatness of performing the mitzvah of eating matzah on the seder night. The Rebbe states that this mitzvah was so beloved by the tzadikim that when they performed this mitzvah, their souls almost left their bodies. The Rebbe explains that most people do not experience such longing for the mitzvah and hence, do not perceive this spiritual inspiration and ecstasy when eating matzah since most of us do not understand the power this mitzvah really holds in its ability to affect the upper worlds. However, the Rebbe tells us that even if a simple Jew eats the matzah with simple intentions, this, too, causes great, positive effects in the upper realms.

Chazal famously tell us that matzah represents the great character trait of humility. We should take a lesson from this. When we eat the matzah, even with simple intentions, we shake the upper worlds. Perhaps, we can deduce that through practicing humility before Hashem in a true and genuine way, we also will stir the upper worlds. In the face of heresy, we must stand up and protest, but we also must remember, at the very same time that we decry and tear down the heresy, to be humble and broken-hearted before Hashem, and through the power of this humility, may we merit seeing the downfall of the evil, with the coming of Moshiach, b'mheirah b'yameinu, Amein!

3. We learn that part of the purification process of a metzora is that he is sent outside the camp of the Jewish People. The Satmar Rebbe, ZY"A, in Divrei Yoel (Parshas Tzav, p. 143) discusses another class of people who were expelled from the camp of Bnei Yisroel. The Rebbe explains that the people who had doubts regarding emunah and entertained heretical thoughts were ejected from the protective, heavenly clouds of glory that surrounded the camp of the Jewish People in the midbar, and these were the people whom Amaleik attacked. What is the connection between the metzora, a person who sinned through speech, and someone who doubted Hashem and had heretical thoughts?

Perhaps an answer could be suggested as follows: It is clear and apparent that the heretics should be spit out of the ananei hakavod. There is a real danger that they will influence all those with whom they come into contact and poison their minds irreparably. These harmful individuals are comparable to the people who were spat out of the ananei hakavod. There is another very prevalent, although not as clearly recognized danger that comes about with heretical people. This is the problem of the justification of these evil people by the frum Jews. Sometimes, we find that even good, Torah-observant Jews accidently stumble by justifying the activities of the heretics. So the Torah warns us: do not speak good in any way about the heretics, or we might, chas v'shalom, find ourselves together with them outside the camp of Hashem. [This sin, committed through speech, is perhaps comparable to the sin of the metzora, who also sinned through speech (although not through justification of the wicked, but rather through defamation of the innocent).] May we all merit being spared from this!