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Katchkes

When little Moishe was born his parents decided that they are going to raise him in complete holiness. In a completely cloistered environment. He remained at home until age 3 while his mother watched him. Then he was taken care of by his father and rabbeim WITHOUT SEEING ANY FEMALES. And so he grew up learning and davening in the privacy of his home. At the age of 18 after Moishe completed his study of Yoreh Deah his father wanted him to be tested by the local Rabbi in order to receive his smicha. But for that he had to leave his house. So, his father took him out to the Rabbi's house and on the way there Moishe saw a group of teenage girls walking by. Moishe asked his father "Tatte, what are those?" His father answered "Katchkes" [geese]. "Tatte, can you buy me some of those katchkes."

The Gemara teaches that only those foods which can potentially become chametz , are kosher for matza. So for example, rice cannot become chametz, so it is also not kosher for matza. The question is, why take the risk? Wouldn't it be better if we could bake matza without the danger of it becoming chametz? It seems that the Torah wants us to play with fire.

The Tolna Rebbe Shlita explained that chametz represents the yetzer hara. Matza is the food of purity. Hashem wants up to deal with our Yetzer Hara and emerge victorious. The yetzer hara is a necessary part of life. Indeed the Medrash calls the yetzer hara -"good". We bake flour that could theoretically become chametz and we defeat the yetzer hara by acting with zrizus [alacrity] ensuring that the flour does not leaven.

Of course, of course we don't bring the yetzer hara upon ourselves but our encountering it is inevitable [as we learn from the story about Moishe]. Our job is to overcome!!

Good luck!!!!!


Love and Blessings

i love that story! though i originally heard the punchline in yiddish, "tatte, ich vill a katchke!"

the tolna's insight can be applied to the whole emergence of the nation of kllal yisrael from the lowest level of tummah in egypt, and according to rav (pesachim 116a), from joining the egyptians in worship of idolatry to become ovdei Hashem instead (m'genai l'shevach).

the whole reason it was necessary for us to be "exposed" to chametz, the yetzer haarah or the tumaah of our oppressors is to overcome this shi'abud and to emerge as a stronger and more dedicated "ben chorin" to serve Hashem. wishing you Pesach kasher v'sameach rav alley and to your family.

Back to you and yours R'Shlomo!!!

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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