Rabban Gamliel lists off Pesach Matzah and Maror as the three foods that one must explain during the Haggadah, otherwise he did not fulfill his obligation to the fullest. The Meforshim question the order of Rabban Gamliel. Maror symbolizes the galus and Matzah and Pesach the geula. Would it not have been more proper to list  the explanation of Maror prior to the elaboration on Pesach and Matzah?The answer is that Pesach, Matzah, and Maror does not only go back to Yetzias Mitzrayim but find their source in the chait of Adam and Chava. These three mitzvos of the Seder are the three tikkunim corresponding to the three seductions that lured Chava into eating from the Aitz Hadaas. The seductions are as follows (Berieshis 3,6)כי טוב העץ למאכל

The first seduction of the Tree of Knowledge was that it appeared good to eat. Its tikkun is the Korban Pesach. By eating from the Aitz Hadaas, Adam and Chava were cut off from eternal life. The Korban Pesach possesses the opposite energy of the Aitz Haddass for it gives life.  This idea can be gleaned from someone who fails to bring the Korban Pesach. He receives the punishment of kares which means to be cut off from life. This mitzvah and the mitzvah of Milah are the only two positive mitzvos that bring about kares to the person who does not fulfill the mitzvah. We can therefore deduct the opposite that if one sacrifices the Korban Pesach he gains greater life and a closer connection with Hashem the source of all life. It is no wonder why the gematriah of פסח isנצח eternity. That is why at the night of the 15th in Mitzrayim it was the mixture of two bloods both Milah and Pesach that protected the houses of Bnei Yisrael in Mitzrayim בדמיך חיי.

For something to be called טוב it cannot ever break or be cut off. This we learn from the Chazal (Baba Kama 49) who say that the reason the first Luchos contains every letter of the Aleph Bais except for the letter טית is because they eventually were destroyed. The letter ט symbolizes טוב for its first appearance in the Torah is in the beginning of this word. Rabbe Yehoshuah says that if one sees the letter טית in his dreams it is a good sign. The Zohar says that the letter טיתwent to the city of Luz and that is the reason why there are no deaths there. The letter טית therefore represents some type of eternity of life. Chava looked at the Aitz Hadaas and she was fooled into thinking that eating from the fruit would lead to a state of euphoricטוב . However, it caused kares from Gan Eden, from Hashem’s presence and from eternal life.

The three Avos were identified as טובים as Chazal (Bereishis Rabba 30,6) bring עיקר תולדותיהם של צדיקים מצוות ומעשים טובים. Chazal (Baba Basra 16b) also say that all three of the Avos were connected to the יום שכולו טוב the world of נצח even while they lived on earth. They were compared to a life that identified withקרבן פסח  by connecting to the ultimate טוב and a supercharge of chayim even on earth. This is why you will find that the gematriah of קרבן פסח including its two words is 502 the combined years of the lives of our Avos (Avraham 175, Yitzchak 180 and Yaakov 147).

Today the distortion of what is deemed טוב has become decadent. It first started about sixty years ago as far as I can remember. As a young child I cannot forget the famous candy Good and Plenty. Firstly, one had to love licorice otherwise it was not nogaiah at all. So how can you give it a title of good when it has to do with taste buds. Secondly, who gave a company the right to say on candy that it is “good”, a word that is reserved to express virtuousness and beneficially? It surely is not good for your health! The only limud zechus I can find is that their slogan carried a subliminal message and that is: it Good for the local dentist, for you will have Plenty of cavities.

However, today we find that the word good has deteriorated to the extent that it has become part of every day language. For example, if you ask someone if they want some food he will respond with No I’m good. Firstly, this response is insulting for it is lacking middos and gratitude. It pashit does not include a thank you for your kind and generous offer. Secondly, all of a sudden the special word good is stripped bare from its moral content, and has been replaced with a complete overhaul and a new identity of, I am not needy or I am full. This is just a sick commentary (I cautiously use the word sick because in todays contrarian culture it is interpreted to mean just the opposite –  great) of our culture which is bankrupt from moral values and therefore has no longer a use for the olden day word of good which describes something virtuous and moral.

The Navi Micha (6,8) admonishes his generation about these fabricated values and definitions that Man gave to the meaning of goodהגיד לך אדם מה טוב ומה ה’ דורש ממך   “Man has told you what is good. However, concern yourself with what Hashem seeks from you”. Who can define what is good if not Hashem. Even His name hints to this concept, G-d. He is the only ultimate absolute good and because of this goodness He created a world טבע הטוב להטיב .

We must make sure we don’t become delusional from the world’s false advertisements and illusions of what is good for us for it could be very dangerous. The corresponding letters in Lahson Hakodesh for the sound of the word good is גודwhich means to cut off. (גד see Rashi Bereishis 30,11).

On Shabbos when we are given the present of neshamah yesairah, we regain the clarity to dispel the distorted self centered notions of good and evil fostered by our decadent society and replace it with Hashem’s definitions of both of them.  This is hinted in the gematriah of the passuk aboveהגיד לך אדם מה טוב ומה הויה דורש ממך which is בשבת.  It is on Shabbos which is מעין עולם הבא a taste of נצח that we are enabled to make the switch of values to the absolute טוב. The same is true for the Yom “Tov” of Pesach which is called Shabbos as the passuk calls it ממחרת השבת (Vayikra 23,15). Especially on the night of the Seder, when we eat the Korban Pesach or if we still live in galus, the Afikoman in its place.

The second lure was תאוה הוא לעינים and it finds its tikkun in matzah. Matzah corresponds to the eye which is the source of sinעין רואה ולב חומד וכלי המעשה גומרים  (Bamidbar 15,29 Rashi). Matzah is called לחם עני which are the letters ofעין . So too matzah teaches us not to follow our eyes to desire only the best of Olam Hazeh but rather to be מסתפק במועט  not to fall into a life of pursuit of luxuries which can lead one astray from Hashem’s Torah as the passuk says וישמן ישורון ויבעט. The physical form of the matzah portrays humility. So too one must live life humbly and modestly. The matzah is baked with holes in it to let it breath which allows it to be baked through and through quickly. Only when one does not crave materialism he has time to breath, spend time with his family, and learn Torah. If one chases and craves after the acquisition of every new product, then he forfeits the quality of his family and personal life. His eye transforms into the Iand he becomes selfish and narcissistic. It is the eye that must watch that the dough does not become chametz. It is the holy eye that keeps tabs on the rise of chametz, haughtiness, self centeredness, and an ambition of materialistic associations.

עושה שמים וארץ     the end letters spell מצה. One has to be cognizant that Hashem is mashgiach both in heavens and earth. Through the mitzvah of matzah which is called by the Zohar the “food of emunah” one can arrive at this recognition. The passuk says (Yeshaya 40,26) שאו מרום עיניכם וראו מי ברא אלה lift up your eyes upon high and see whocreated these. מי  and אלה spell אלהים. The sefarim say thatאלהים is gematriah הטבע nature. By looking to the shamayimone will come to realize that Hashem is mashgiach inshamayim and aretz. This is all done through the eye עין. When one comes to this emunah he becomes an עני poor. A poor person has nothing of his own and relies on others for his sustenance. So too when one realizes that Hashem is mashgiach and sole provider of everything even in nature, one also realizes that Hashem is pulling all the strings from above and not him and he must therefore rely on Hashem for his sustenance and existence. The לחם עני brings one to look through the עין of Hashem and come to the emunah which leads to being an עני relying on Hashem for everything even after one’s hishtadlus.

                      ונחמד העץ להשכיל
The third distortion of the Aitz Hadaas was that its fruit would bring wisdom and intellect. This luring characteristic of the Aitz Hadaas corresponds to the tikkun brought by the Maror. Shlomo Hamelech says יוסף דעת יוסף מכאוב (Koheles 1,18). Together with the acquisition of knowledge comes pain. This supports the old saying Ignorance is bliss. However, this passuk could be interpreted in another fashion. Knowledge can only be acquired through pain and suffering. תורה נקנית ביסוריםand there is no quick fix or instant winner. Wisdom cannot be acquired by eating a fruit or swallowing a pill. Only through realization that toil, pain, and challenges are the prerequisites to wisdom, can one bring a tikkun to theAitz Hadaas.

With this explanation we can understand why Rabban Gamliel fixed the order in the list of the three mitzvos to be Pesach Matzah and Maror instead of Maror Pesach and Matzah. The answer is that the geulah from Mitzrayim had a deeper implication than just freedom of Am Yisrael from bondage. It was also the last step before Matan Torah on the path to correcting the chait of Aitz Hadaas. Because of this, the Baal Haggadah preferred to list the fixings of the Chait which are Pesach Matzah and Maror in the same order that corresponded to the list of seductions that caused the Chait in the first place. By doing so he hoped that we would take to heart and take upon ourselves to be careful that we too do not fall into the same distortion and seduction but rather rectify the chait to bring Moshiach Tzidkainu in our days.

Gut Shabbos
Rav Brazil