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In the Parshat Vayikra 5781 edition of Bitachon Weekly (around page 19), the writer recalls when he asked a tzaddik what inner work to focus on throughout Pesach, and the tzaddik answered to focus on 3 things:
- ka'as (anger)
- lashon hara (rumor-mongering, slander, gossip, tale-bearing, etc.)
Pesach is an ideal time to work on humility.
The whole idea of deleting puffed-up chametz & replacing it with flat, humble matzah plays a starring role in Pesach preparations and during Pesach itself.
Mitzrayim (Egypt) was a place of gaavah (pride, arrogance).
Moshe Rabbeinu embodied the epitome of humility.
So focusing on bitachon & humility help us leave Mitzrayim in our times!
Humble people do not get angry because they know Hashem orchestrates everything—and that He orchestrates everything for each person's best benefit.
So a truly humble person sees no need to feel angry over anything.
A truly humble person feels no fear or anxiety or desire to manipulate events to his perceived advantage—all of which lead to lying.
A humble person feels no need to raise himself by denigrating others.
A humble person feels no satisfaction or gloating over the flaws or suffering of others that leads to lashon hara.
Rav Yechezkel Levenstein recommended learning Chovot Levavot/Duties of the Heart during Pesach because that really helps people feel Hashem. (The chapter entitled Shaar HaBitachon/Gate of Trust especially helps.)
A unique concept in Judaism is that Hashem does not judge us by results.
He only judges us on effort.
In other words, you don't need to succeed in order to succeed.
You only need to try.
One Navordak Method for Pesach
- Choose 1 middah to break once a day by going against your own ratzon (desire) each day of Pesach.
This means, for example, if you love overeating matzah spread with butter, you refrain from eating it once a day.
When you feel the urge to surf online for no reason or check your social media for the ninety-eighth time, you refrain once a day.
If you feel the urge to make a critical remark, you say something nice instead.
If you feel like getting angry, you bite your lip (or restrain your hands or feet) and say, "Ein od bilvado" or "Gam zu l'tovah" instead.
If you feel like mentioning something on Shabbat or chag that is not in the spirit of the holy day, you keep silent or bring up something from the parshah.
Once a day.
As always, these baby-steps MATTER.
Don't let people convince you they don't.
They definitely matter.
Rav Avigdor Miller, Rav Itamar Schwartz, the Navordak mussar, and other great people...they all emphasize the importance of baby steps.
It's not me saying this; it's them.
May we all merit a Pesach that is truly kosher and joyous!