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Wisdom is Beyond Us…..Meeting God in the Middle…Acknowledging the Unknown before Pesach

Exploring the Unknown to Find the Divine: Using Chassidism to find a way to meet the Divine in times such as these, Reb Mimi Feigelson asks us to enter the unknown as we reach an additional Jewish holiday with so much we don’t know about the hostages.

Reb Mimi is Singing:

(פלאיה) [פְּלִ֣יאָֽה] דַ֣עַת מִמֶּ֑נִּי נִ֝שְׂגְּבָ֗ה נִ֝שְׂגְּבָ֗ה לֹא־א֥וּכַֽל לָֽהּ


“This understanding, this wisdom, this knowledge is beyond me, there is no way for me to reach it.” 

This is the pasuk, the verse, from Tehillim (Psalms) 139 that the second Chasidic rebbe of the Ishbitza-Radzin dynasty uses to understand our opening pasuk of our parashah:

אִשָּׁה֙ כִּ֣י תַזְרִ֔יעַ וְיָלְדָ֖ה זָכָ֑ר וְטָֽמְאָה֙ 


How can a woman, a female that is seeded birth male?

Clearly, female should be able to birth female. Like our own species. But for female to birth male, this he says is beyond us. He brings us into the world of prayer and he says how can it be that we, as human beings, articulate words with our physical body? And how do these words ascend to the Divine? And how does God come out of God’s concealment and meet us in the realm of prayer?

He says based on the Chasidic teaching and on the mystical kabbalah teaching :

אתערותא- דלתתא אתערותא דלעילא

“Arousal from below summons arousal from above”

He explains that when we are willing to enter into the realm of our unknown, the realm of faith. Where we don’t have any understanding

פְּלִ֣יאָֽה דַ֣עַת מִמֶּ֑נִּי נִ֝שְׂגְּבָ֗ה נ לֹא־א֥וּכַֽל לָֽהּ

This unknown of the Psalm 139.

When we are willing to enter into that realm of faith, God says, “Oh my children, they have entered into a realm beyond their capacity, beyond their reality. I too, will descend to meet them in that place. And in the place of the not knowing both of the Divine and of the human experience, that is where our prayer meets God.

That is when God meets our prayer.

I want to say this year, it is not only this Shabbat but we have Hanukkah, Purim, Yom HaKippurim.

What day is it? What holiday is it even right now?

Some of us are all still on Simchat Torah.

But this coming Shabbat, and the Seder that is waiting for us: How will we get there? How will we meet it? What kind of questions do we need to ask that are different questions?   

Rachel Goldberg-Polin (who son Hersh Goldberg-Polin remains a hostage) when the Tehillim (Psalms) came to 150, she says we don’t give up the praise of God, but we start over again. 150 and 38, 150 and 39; not 189, not 190.

I want to invite us and think how are we going to reach the seder this year?

When I grew up, we always had a chair for Soviet Jewry.

?מה נשתנה הלילה הזה

How is this night different?

What chair is going to be vacant at our table?

Soviet Jewry? People that don’t even know they have a place at the Seder table? Our kidnapped?

Who is going to be at our Seder Table? What questions are we going to ask? What questions are we demanded to ask this year that are different than other questions?

I want to wish us all a Shabbat shalom, a Shavua Tov, a Purim/Pesach/Yom Kippurim, whatever it is..

Those of us who are still in Simchat Torah.

I bless us to sit at the Seder night with the courage to enter the unknown, and the courage to ask questions we haven’t asked yet.




Reb Mimi serves as the Mashpiah Ruchanit (spiritual mentor) of the Rabbinical School, and  teaches Talmud and Hassidic Thought. She will guide and walk with the rabbinical students on their personal-spiritual journeys. She served as the Mashpiah Ruchanit of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles for the last 16 years. Prior to this Reb Mimi was one of the founding administration and faculty members of the “Yakar” Beit Midrash and community.

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