Dvar Torah - Yom Tov Pesach
Many years ago, Choni Hameagel (Choni who draws circles) was walking along and saw an old man planting a Carob tree. He asked, why are you plating a tree which you will never be able to enjoy (it grows too slowly). The man replied that while it was true that he would derive no benefit from the tree, his children and grandchildren would. Satisied with the answer, Choni went to sleep. When he woke up, he saw a young man harvesting fruit from a carob tree. When he asked the man if he knew who had planted the tree, he said it was his grandfather. Choni had been asleep for seventy years!
As Choni wandered around the world, the Talmud tells us that he was very confused.
Everything seemed similar, but new. The man looked just like his grandfather, but was obviously different. People dressed a little differently and spoke a little differently. It felt like a brave new world.
Before the Jews even left Egypt, as they prepared the first Pesach sacrifice, they knew that they would be doing this every year. Hashem, had already told them that they would be doing this on the event's anniversary year on year forever. And yet, the year afterwards they needed to be told especially to bring the sacrifice. Why didn't they think about this? Why didn't they know that they would have to bring this sacrifice?
As the Jews left Egypt, their entire world changed. They entered a new type of existence, a free one, where they could choose what they were doing and when they were doing it. With life so different, it's a small wonder that they didn't necessarily connect what they had done before with what they needed to do now. Their lives were a constant exercise of noticing the new.
This year we are celebrating Pesach pretty normally (without restrictions) for the first time in three years. As we continue to get used to our new normal, we should take care both to return to those things which we love, and to build new and improved versions where we feel that is necessary.