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Parshas Tzav

I Know One!

Rabbi Label Lam

The whole Pesach Seder is driven by questions. Perhaps the most important question at the Pesach Seder is not one of “the four questions”. You might not even recognize it as a serious question because it is included in a cute and fun song at the very end of the Pesach Seder. The question is, “Who knows one?” We offer an answer right away. “I know one! One is HASHEM in the heavens and the earth.”

How do we declare with such confidence at the Seder’s conclusion, “I know one! One is HASHEM…”? Maybe someone can say I believe or I think but how do we know HASHEM?

The Rambam begins Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah with the following amazing words:

יסוד היסודות ועמוד החכמות לידע שיש שם מצוי ראשון The foundation of all foundations the pillar of wisdom is to know that there is a primary entity (HASHEM)

How does one “know” it is so? The Rambam answers, וידיעת דבר זה מצות עשה שנאמר אנכי ה׳ אלהיך…

The knowledge of this matter is a positive Mitzvah as it says, “I am HASHEM your G-d Who took you out of the Land of Egypt…”

How do we “know HASHEM” based on that commandment? The Kuzari asks, “Why did HASHEM makes such a small claim by Har Sinai when He declared… “I am HASHEM Who took you out of Egypt”? He could have said, “I created heaven and earth!”

The Kuzari answers that no one was there by the creation of the world but an entire nation, 600,000 adult males from 20 to 60 plus those above 60 and below 20 and those of the opposite gender (perhaps 3,000,000 people) all experienced the exodus from Egypt! You saw it! You felt it! You lived through it! You experienced it! That’s how you can know HASHEM!

Since find ourselves at the Pesach Seder each year for the past 3325 years reliving the exodus from Egypt as it says in the Haggada, “In every generation a person is obligated to see himself as if he went out Egypt” it makes perfect sense that at the very end of the Seder, the final exam about whether or not we re-experienced leaving Egypt is whether or not we have the answer to the following question: “Who knows One?”

Hopefully we will all be able to answer confidently in unison with all generations, “I know One!"

DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and



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