Pesach - Sanctifying Ourselves

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The majority of Jewish men go to the Mikvah before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, many like to go before every Shabbos and Yom Tov as well, and some more exacting people will go before they perform a Mitzvah. A Mohel may go before he performs a Bris or a Sofer may go before he writes in a Torah. Even more common is the need to wash our hands before davening so our hands are pure. There is clearly some prerequisite for a holy act to make sure we are pure in mind, body and soul. On the night of the Seder we do Kadesh, followed by washing, urchatz. It seems out of order, first we say Kiddush and then we wash our hands. Should it not be the opposite? First we wash – to purify our mind body and soul – and then we can rise up and be Kadesh ourselves – to become holier!

Maybe we can better understand with a Mashul from the Tiferes Shmuel; only very specific people are allowed into the palace of a king. And even those that are allowed in make significant preparations just to enter the palace, let alone to greet the king. They bathe and they wear fancy clothes because they have to look presentable. Even a person whose name was on the list to get in can’t just show up wearing torn, disgusting clothing, they would not allow him into the palace dressed like that. But if any disheveled guy was being chased by thieves and ran to the gates of the palace for refuge the guards would certainly let him in, no one would blame him for his appearance then.

It is the same with our leaving of Egypt. Before our redemption we were in the deepest depths, we were wearing torn and tattered clothes, we were sinking lower and lower every passing moment. Imagine someone being chased by thieves and he gets to the palace gates seeking refuge but first they make him go home and change, take a shower, he probably would not make it back to the palace. We were in the darkness and we were surrounded on all sides, our only option was to leap out of those depths and straight into the Palace of the King of Kings. On the night we left Egypt we sanctified ourselves, without any prerequisite. First we were kadesh, and little by little we washed the dirt of Mitzrayim off till we were clean and pure to enter the Land of Israel and achieve even greater levels of holiness.

May it be soon in our times that we are sanctified and can enter into Eretz Yisrael with the coming of Mashiach.