Sunday, March 28, 2010

Reading Acts ch. 12 on Pesach

On Passover we drink four cups of wine recognizing the removal of four klippot or husks...layers of restraint which were broken through our exodus from Mitzraim. Athough Kefa had been kept under guard by "four squads fo four soldiers", we read of his meraculous deliverance durring the chag. Below I have included a reading from our family's Haggadah. Feel free to print this short piece and read it during your seder or elabarate on its content during a group study.

It happened once that Shimon Kefa found himself in prison during Pesach. His experience intentionally resembles that of Israel in Egypt.

Four squads of four soldiers each guarded his cell. Kefa was restrained, and slept on the floor between two of the soldiers. Suddenly, an angel of HASHEM appeared next to him and the cell became filled with a bright light. (This recalls the light that filled the homes of the Israelites in Egypt when HASHEM smote Egypt with darkness [Choshech].) The angel then struck Kefa on the side saying, “quickly get up!” At the same moment the angel spoke, shackles fell from Kefa’s hands. The angel said to him, “Get dressed and put your sandals on your feet.” As Kefa dressed the angel also commanded him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.” Before our ancestors fled Egypt they were instructed with similar words. They were commanded to eat the Pesach in Egypt fully dressed, with sandals on their feet.

Kefa followed the angel, but believed he was dreaming. The angel escorted Kefa past two guards until they came to an iron gate that led into the city. As they approached the gate it opened by itself. (This incident reminds us of the sea of reeds that parted before the sons of Israel.)

Although, as free men and women we conduct the seder in a reclining position, we learn from Kefa’s encounter with the angel that in times of oppression we should expect a quick deliverance. One who expects redemption wears his sandals even as he sleeps. Kefa was not expecting salvation; it was for this reason the angel struck him.

The season of Pesach not only held redemptive power for the generaion of the exodus but exists to free those held captive in all generations.

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