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Speech and Pesach

The letters of the word "Pesach" can be changed to be viewed as a composite of Chas Peh, or Pity of Mouth. According to the Zohar, the exile in Egypt was due to speech. In the Haggadah it says, "And he went down to Egypt forced by the Divine Word." In addition, Moses had a speech impediment, which characterized Israel's state: a symbol of its captivity under the powers of Egypt. On Passover the loving kindness of G-d was revealed. An adaptation of the word Chesed (Loving Kindness) has the word reconfigured to mean Chas Delet, or "Pity on the Opening (Mouth)" The Egyptian bondage caused the holiness of spirit inherited from the forefathers to be in danger, and G-d had promised Jacob that his seed would not be totally destroyed.

Moses ran away from Egypt due to loshon hara, evil talk. When the secret that he had killed the Egyptian became known, Moses said, "Behold, the thing is known." Rashi comments based on a Midrash that Moses knew that the defilement of the power of speech was the cause of the exile in Egypt. The lovingkindness of G-d towards Israel was mercy on Israel's power of speech.

When reading the Haggadah, exceedingly recounting the exodus is emphasized because the power of speech was at the root of the redemption from Egypt. Those elements of the seder that remind Israel of suffering and bitterness revolve around the Haggadah, holy words of speech that utter thanks for the redemption of speech. Therefore the more one tells, the more praiseworthy he is, for he thus utilizes his hopy power of speech, which was redeemed from the impurity of Egypt.

In the tetragrammatron, the Divine name of G-d, the vov (third letter) corresponds to Ruach, the element of the soul that speech depends upon. That vov, when added to the word matzah, changes matzah to mitzvah, or commandment. This is an indication that as Passover elevates by using the power of speech in holiness, the poor bread, matzah, turns into mitzvah, commandment.

- Adapted From R. Mattityahu Glazerson Mystical Glory of Shabbath and Festivals pp 56-57


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