Biha’alotcha: Only The Poor Get Answered – Who Is Rich, Who Is Poor? ~ Tzvi Abrahams

Parshas בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ

Only the Poor Get Answered — Who Is Rich, Who Is Poor?

עַנָוָה: humble

עוֹנִי: affliction

עֹנֶה: answer, testimony  

עָנִי: poor

וְהָאִישׁ מֹשֶׁה (ענו) עָנָיו מְאֹד מִכֹּל הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר עַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה
And Moshe was very humble, more so than any man on the face of the earth.

 עֲנָוָה: Humble

One of the explanations of עֲנָוָה /humility is that Moshe did not answer for himself; rather, when Miriam and Aharon questioned Moshe’s actions, it was Hashem who answered them on behalf of Moshe. Hashem refers to Moshe as His servant because the one who is truly humble knows that Hashem did not bring a person into this world to serve himself, but rather that one is in this world to serve Hashem. The one who is truly humble does not answer for himself, but rather answers for Hashem. All of his actions are  לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם/for the name of Heaven.

Moshe is the only one who climbs the mountain of G-d, showing us that Moshe’s middah of עֲנָוָה is what causes man to reach the spiritual heights of drawing close to Hashem. This is the middah of Moshe, who was known as אִישׁ אֶ-לֹהִים/ the man of G-d, and this is the middah we should all try to attain.

עוֹנִי: Affliction

The purpose of a תַּעַנִית is to afflict ourselves, to cause us pain, to humble ourselves, to make ourselves poor in front of Hashem, to cause Hashem to answer our prayers.

עֹנֶה: Answer, Testimony

The ninth of the Ten Commandments is לֹא תַעֲנֶה בְרֵעֲךָ עֵד שָׁקֶר/not to bear false witness.

The Gemara in Sanhedrin says that whoever sins by giving false testimony causes the clouds to withhold their rain, which in turn brings trouble to the world.

In contrast to the verse above, it says in Hoshei’a: אֶעֱנֶה נְאֻם ה’ אֶעֱנֶה אֶת הַשָּׁמָיִם וְהֵם יַעֲנוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ/
I will answer the heavens and they will answer the land, i.e., with rain.

Hashem gives עֵדוּת/testimony to His hashgachah/Divine Providence on how He runs the world. If man is corrupt and gives false testimony, not only does he give false testimony upon his friend, he also gives false testimony upon Hashem by not testifying to the fact that Hashem runs the world. He does this because he ignores the evidence within creation that Hashem will stop the עַנַנִים/clouds from giving their rain. The way to combat the lack of rains is to make a תַּעַנִית, from the lashon of עִנּוּי/affliction, to make oneself עָנִי/poor. תַּעַנִית is also a lashon of “answer,” to ask Hashem to answer us, because Hashem only answers the poor — תְּפִילָה לְעָנִי. Then, when our prayers are answered, Hashem will give His answer through the עַנַנִים, which will open up their rains and satisfy us, as it says: כִּי הָאֶ-לֹהִים מַעַנֶה בְּשִׂמְחַת לִבּו/then Hashem will answer through the joy of His heart.

עָנִי: Poor

תְּפִילָה לְעָנִי/a prayer for the poor.

The one who is listened to, i.e., the one whose prayers are answered, is the poor man. There is no such expression תְּפִילָה לְעָשִׁר/a rich man’s prayer, because a rich man has everything, as it says in Koheles: וְהַכֶּסֶף יַעֲנֶה אֶת הַכֹּל/money answers everything, i.e., if you have money you don’t need Hashem. The עָנִי does not have money, instead he has Hashem and he knows the real power of prayer. Hashem answers the poor man’s prayer because his prayers are heartfelt. The one who lifts up his voice to Hashem and cries out is never turned away, as it says the gates of Heaven are never closed to tears.

Who is rich, who is poor?

The Gemara in Pesachim quotes Rabi Yochanan as saying that one who wants to become rich should marry the daughter of a kohen, and all the more so one who marries the daughter of a talmid chacham will become rich. However, if an am ha’aretz/ignoramus marries the daughter of a kohen, it will only lead him to poverty.

How do we explain this? All too often we find that the opposite is true: that there are many poor talmidei chachamim and many rich ignoramuses! So how can the Gemara assert that one will not become rich if he is an am ha’aretz?

On the very next page of the Gemara, the son of Rabi Yehoshua ben Levi, after having a near-death experience, tells his father about the world he saw. Everything was upside down: what was above was below, and what was below was above. The meaning of this is that whoever is rich and important in this world is the opposite in the World to Come. His father then asks him what about we talmidei chachamim, to which his son replied that just like we are here, so too we are there. 

Does that mean that those who are poor in this world will be rich in the next? Does it mean that one should be poor in gashmiyus/physicality and partake less from the pleasures of this world in order to enjoy the real ruchniyus/spiritual pleasures of the World to Come?

Does Hashem really want us to deprive ourselves of pleasure in this world? According to Rabbi Noach Weinberg’s “Five Levels of Pleasure” lecture, Hashem created us to partake of the pleasures in His world, so it can’t be that we are meant to abstain from them. Still, one should be careful to distinguish between what is real pleasure and what is fake pleasure. 

Actually, we can be poor in this world in order to be rich in the next world, even while we are in this world. How so? By being “poor” of the false temporary pleasures and instead focusing on the real, lasting pleasures that come from Hashem. By elevating the physical, we become truly rich in the spiritual, even while we are in the physical world.

One of the keys to becoming rich is to be happy. When you are samei’ach bechelkecha/happy in your portion, you lack nothing. The rich in this world are never happy because they are always chasing what they are lacking. By always wanting more and more, they are never satisfied. They are considered poor in the spiritual world because they lack happiness. Only one who is happy, who takes great pleasure in this world, can connect to Hashem, for ruach hakodesh/the spirit of Hashem only rests on a person who is b’simchah/happy.

The difference between being אָשֶׁר/happy and עוֹשֶׁר/rich is that the aleph is replaced with an ayin. So too, after Adam sinned, his body changed from translucent אוֹר to skin עוֹר, with the aleph, which symbolizes a more spiritual state, changed into an ayin, signifying a more physical state. This reveals to us that the wealth of happiness is a higher spiritual level, as opposed to the wealth of money, which is a lower physical level.

So this is what it means by a world where everything is upside down. While in this physical world, if one is rich in physicality, one is literally poor in spirituality, and therefore in the next world, the spiritual world, one will be very poor. But if in this physical world one rises above physicality and becomes rich in spirituality, then in the spiritual world he will also be rich. These are the talmidei chachamim, who there will be just as they are here, whereas the am ha’aretz, who sacrifices spirituality for ignorance so that he can be rich in physicality, will be the opposite in the true reality.

In conclusion, one can be rich in physicality or one can be rich in spirituality. The difference in this world is happiness, and the difference in the next world is an “olam hafuch”/opposite world for the am ha’aretz, but not for the talmid chacham, because the talmid chacham is considered wealthy in this world and the next. What the Gemara is really telling us, then, is that true wealth is acquired only by the ones who are rich in Torah. 

Appendix v

בְּהַעַלוֹתְךָ — נֵר ה’ נִשְׁמַת אָדָם/The Soul of Man Is the Light of Hashem

How could a nation complain? A nation that had received the Torah; that had just built the Mishkan, causing the Divine Presence to dwell among them; a nation that had all its provisions provided for with the manna; unlimited water from Miriam’s well; and protection from the Clouds of Glory? More than a five-star hotel, the desert gave them all-star accommodations!

The opening Rashi explains that when Aharon was told to light the candles of the Menorah, he was to make sure that each light should light up by itself before moving on to the next light, in order that it shouldn’t go out. בְּהַעַלוֹתְךָ, referring to the lights, is lashon עוֹלֶה/to go up by themselves.

After the people complain, Moshe turns to Hashem and says that he is unable to carry them by himself. Hashem tells him to gather seventy elders, and then the ruach of Hashem that is within Moshe will rest upon the seventy elders, and in this way they will be able to share the burden. Rashi says that Moshe is compared to a light that has the power to light many more lights without itself being diminished.

נֵר ה’ נִשְׁמַת אָדָם/the soul of man is the light of Hashem. Not only Moshe but all of us have the potential to be Hashem’s light. How do we bring out this potential? Only through the Torah. The Torah is known as light — Toras Ohr. By attaching ourselves to the Torah, we kindle within us the spark of Hashem, and we begin to shine. We all have the potential to be Hashem’s stars in the world, shining his light and lightening up the world.

The light of the Menorah in the Mishkan represents the spiritual light of the Torah. In the same way that Hashem’s warns Aharon to be careful when lighting up the lights of the Menorah, so too we should be careful when lighting up another person’s soul with the Torah to be sure they are fueled up by themselves before moving on. We should make sure that the Torah is burning from within them, so that independent of us they are on fire.

The Bnei Yisrael, even though they had been lit up by the Torah from Har Sinai, were still not independently burning from within. Before they were ready to continue with life’s journey, the encampment was already moving on. As a result, the flame within them extinguished and they were burnt out, leaving them hungry and desiring physicality. It is a bit like taking a drug, being lifted up to a higher realm, and then crashing back to reality when the effects wear off. Since the manna could only satisfy someone who was holding on the higher level, it could no longer satisfy them, resulting in their desire for real basar/flesh.

As we mentioned before, the true wealth of the world is owned by the talmidei chachamim; only those who are infused with the Torah are able to prosper in the spiritual realm. Only the ones who have elevated themselves along with their physical surroundings to the higher realm can truly benefit from the manna, the spiritual food of the שֻׁלְחָן גָּבוֹהַּ/the higher table.

The fact that we celebrate the festival of Chanukah in the darkest time of the year teaches us a valuable lesson. Just like the light of the stars are only seen at night, all the more so their light is seen in the darkest night skies of the desert. So too the עָנִי/the poor man who leads a life of hardship sees the light of Hashem shining much more than someone who lacks for nothing.

The opening Midrash in בְּהַעַלוֹתְךָ says that when a man builds a house, the windows are narrow on the outside and wider on the inside in order to increase the light that shines into the house. The opposite is true with the Beis HaMikdash. There, the windows were narrow on the inside and wider on the outside in order to shine out and light up the world. Where did the light come from? It did not come from the Menorah itself but from what the Menorah represented — the Divine light that Hashem hid within the Torah for the tzaddikim to find. Each one of us, when we infuse ourselves with the Torah, becomes a living Beis HaMikdash, and then instead of receiving our light from the outside, we shine Hashem’s light from within. בְּהַעַלוֹתְךָ, lashon עוֹלֶה/to be going up by itself from within, where we light up the world with Toras Ohr, the light of the Torah, then we truly become נֵר ה’ נִשְׁמַת אָדָם/the candle of Hashem.

צָרִיךְ שֶׁכָּל אָדָם יָדַע וְיָבִין שֶׁבְּתּוֹךְ תּוֹכוֹ דוֹלֶק נֵר,
וְאֵין נֵרוֹ שֶׁלוֹ כְּנֵר חַבֵרוֹ וְאֵין אִישׁ שֶׁאֵן לוֹ נֵר.
צָרִיךְ שֶׁכָּל אִישׁ יָבִין שֶׁעָלָיו לְעַמוֹל וּלְגַלוֹת אֶת אוֹר נֵרוֹ בְּרַבִּים,
לְהַדְלִיקוֹ לְאַבוּקָה גְדוֹלָה וּלְהַאִיר לְעוֹלָם כּוּלוֹ. 

A person should know and understand that within him is a candle that burns, and his candle is not like his friend’s candle, and no one’s candle is like his candle.
And every person should know that it is upon him to work to reveal the light of his candle in public, to kindle it so it becomes a great beacon that can light up the whole world. (Rav Kook)

1 Bamidbar 12:3.

2 Sanhedrin 29a.

3 Hoshei’a 2:23.

4 Koheles 5:19.

5 This does not exlude the rich man if he humbles himself and becomes needy like an עָנִי.

6 Pesachim 49a.

Behaaloscha: A Variety of Enemies ~ Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein

AngryMan_si.jpgA Variety of Enemies

The Torah mentions a special prayer which Moshe would say when the Ark of the Covenant would begin to travel (we say this prayer when taking Torah Scrolls out of their ark). He would say, “Arise G-d, and let Your enemies (oyvecha) be scattered, and Your enemies (sonecha) shall flee from before You” (Num. 10:35). In this passage, the Torah uses two different words to mean enemy: oyev and soneh. As we know, the Hebrew language is intrinsically holy and each word carries its own nuanced explanation; no two words can mean the exact same thing. What, then, is the difference between these two words which both seem to mean “enemy”?

The word oyev denotes an enemy who actively tries to harm his victim—or at least contemplates doing so. The Malbim explains that even if the oyev does not attempt to actively damage the victim of his hatred, he will not withhold his joy if such misfortune would befall him because he has already at least actively imagined causing such harm to the object of his enmity.

The word soneh, on the other hand, is derived from the root sinah, which means “hatred”. Instead of “enemy”, a more accurate translation of soneh can be “a hater”. His hatred remains internal and is not outwardly expressed. This word appears in another context: “Do not hate (soneh) your brother in your heart” (Lev. 19:17), even sheer hatred of a fellow Jew is forbidden, whether or not that static hatred turns kinetic. The hater’s attitude cannot be discerned by what he does, rather by what he does not do. Accordingly, when the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 3:5) rules that a “hater” is disqualified from giving testimony about someone whom he hates, it defines a “hater” as someone who has not spoken to his friend out of spite for three days. His hatred is only manifested outwards by his lack of action, not by a proactive negative deed. Thus, the soneh is an enemy whose hatred remains in the realm of the theoretical, while an oyev is an enemy who tries to act upon his hatred.

The Vilna Gaon offers a slightly different approach. He explains that an oyev is an enemy who wishes to hurt his victim’s physical existence (e.g. to physically damage his body or cause him to lose his money), while a soneh is one who wishes to hurt his victim’s spiritual existence (e.g., he wishes to cause his victim to stray from the path of G-d). While it might seem counter-intuitive, the Vilna Gaon teaches that the soneh is a more dangerous enemy than an oyev because he poses a risk to one’s spiritual well-being.

There is a third word for enemy: tzar. The commentators explain that while an oyev is an enemy who tries to harm his victim, he still attempts to hide his hatred beneath a façade of empathy. So, the oyev, like the soneh, is not an overt enemy, but a clandestine enemy. Conversely, the tzar hates his victim with such great passion, that he overtly tries to harm him, even willing to sacrifice his own reputation or exhaust his own resources in doing so. For example, Haman, the infamous villain of the book of Esther is described as a tzorer of the Jews (Est. 9:10.

Malbim explains that the oyev of G-d is one who actively denies His existence and opposes His G-dliness. A soneh of G-d, it would seem, does so only in heart, but not in practice. Thus, in his special prayer at the time that the Ark would travel, Moshe would pray that G-d vanquish both types of His enemies and allow His glory to continue spreading unimpeded.

R. Moshe Shapiro (d. 2017) explains that the level of an oyev’s opposition different from that of the soneh. The oyev simply detests the object of his enmity such that he refuses to have anything to do with him and seeks to sever any preexisting connection with him. The soneh on the other hand does not simply want to cut himself off of the recipient of his hatred, but the very existence of that party bothers him to no end.


Bihaaloscha: Pesach Sheni, Absent-Minded Passover? ~ Yehoshua Steinberg

If any man will become contaminated through a human corpse or on a distant road, whether you or your generations, he shall make the pesach-offering for God (Numbers 9:10).

There are more instances of the root פסח in the weekly portion of B’haaloscha than in any other Scriptural portion. As famously suggested by Arizal (Shaar HaTefillah, Ksav Yad, pg. 81b), this root alludes to the compound word פֶּה סָח, “the mouth utters,” an allusion to the requirement that one recount in great detail the miracles of the Exodus from Egypt during the Passover seder in which he consumes the pesach-offering.

Thus, according to this definition, the term סָח is understood in the sense of שִׂיחָה (conversation, discussion), by way of exchanging the similarly sounding letters ס and שׂ. Using the root סח instead of שׂח to mean conversing is quite common in the Talmudic vernacular, as in, for example (Gittin 28b): “It is an established principle that a heathen’s testimony is viewed as truthful if he speaks (מסיח) innocently” (i.e., if he is unaware that his testimony is being used as evidence, hence eliminating the possibility of ulterior motives).

However, it should be noted that the Sages used a similar word to mean an action that is performed without intent, as if one’s mind is utterly removed from it. For example, it is stated in Sanhedrin 97a: “Three things come about with (היסח) diversion of the mind. They are: the Messiah, a find, and a scorpion.” It is interesting to note that common to both of these terms is the notion of lack of concentration; speech or action performed with diverted thought. Likewise, we find numerous instances of the term שִׂיחָה (using the letter שׂ) that also connotes a conversation with complete lack of focus, such as the expressions שִׂיחַת חוּלִין, commonplace speech, or שִׂיחָה בְּטֵילָה, insignificant speech. We also find instances in which the term can be understood according to either of the two meanings. For example, the Talmud teaches that, “we may not speak (מַסִיחִין) over a cup of blessing” (Berachos 51b), and that “one may not speak (מַסִיחִין) during a meal, lest his windpipe precede the esophagus [in receiving the food]” (Taanis 5b). Thus, in addition to the simple meaning of “do not speak,” both instances can also be interpreted as warning against diverting one’s attention — in the former case from the cup, due to its sanctity, and in the latter case from the food, due to the physical danger.

Now one might indeed wonder why the Sages chose to describe speech of this nature with the specific words שִׂיחָה or מֵסִיחַ, rather than one of the multitude of alternative expressions for speech such as סיפור, דיבור, אמירה, etc. Yerios Shlomo (Vol. 2: 12a, explanation 2) explains that indeed the original meaning of the term stems from the notion of diversion and removal, as in the verse, and you will be torn (וְנִסַחְתֶּם) from upon the ground (Deut. 28:63). Radak (root ‘נסח’) similarly defines the expression ‘היסח’ to mean diversion of attention, as in the verse (II Kings 11:6), Be careful to keep the watch of the palace מַסָח, which means that they must diligently keep their watch of the palace, and keep from diverting your attention to other matters. Similarly, the Talmudic phrase היסח הדעת, diversion of the mind (see Pesachim 34a) means that one diverts his attention from this matter, and focuses his mind and desire on an alternate matter. Pri Megadim, in the second of his series of letters published as a foreword to his work, cites Tishbi (root נסח) as including the term נוּסַח (text version) under this root as well, since it is based on copying from one book to another, and is thus linked to the removal from the land (ונסחתם) cited above.

However, if the root of this term is indeed diversion of the mind, we must understand the purpose of alluding to our recounting of the Exodus from Egypt in the term פֶּסַח. Can it be that we were commanded to relate this story with a diversion of the mind or lack of attention?

Before we try to answer this question, let us focus on a collection of words in Biblical Hebrew that include the root ‘סח’: 1. ‘נסח’, 2. ‘סחה’, 3. ‘סחב’, 4. ‘סחף’, 5. ‘סחר’, 6. ‘סחש’, 7. ‘כסח’, 8. ‘פסח’. I would like to propose that common to the definition of all of these terms are the notions of uprooting, removal, sweeping/dragging away. Let us explain each case individually.

1) נסח: As we have already demonstrated, this term always connotes uprooting and removal, as in, and you will be torn (וְנִסַחְתֶּם) from upon the ground (Deut. 28:63); I will scrape away (וְסִחֵיתִי) her soil from her (Ezekiel 26:4); He will break you and tear you away (וְיִסָּחֲךָ) from the tent (Psalms 52:7); and the faithless uprooted (יִסְּחוּ) from it (Proverbs 2:22); God will uproot (יִסַּח) the house of the arrogant (ibid. 15:25); and in the Aramaic verse, shall have a beam torn out (יִתְנְסַח) of his house (Ezra 6:11).

2) סחה: Ribag and Radak assigned the word סְחִי to the root “סחה”. According to Rashi, it is derived from the word וְנִסַחְתֶּם. In his commentary on the verse, You made us filth (סְחִי) and refuse (וּמָאוֹס) among the nations (Lamen. 3:45), Rashi explains that “סְחִי וּמָאוֹס refers to what the Mishnah calls כיחו וניעו, phlegm (see Bava Kama 3b), which one discharges (שניסח) from the lungs and expectorates through the throat.”

3) סחב: Connotes dragging something to a different location, and thus its uprooting and removal from its original site: and we will drag (וְסָחַבְנוּ) it to the ravine (II Kings 17:13, w. Metz. Tzion); I shall appoint over them … the dogs (לִסְחוֹב) to drag off [corpses] (Jer. 15:3, w. Rashi); if the youngest of the flock will indeed (יִסְחָבוּם) drag them off (ibid. 49:20).

4) סחף: Connotes a thorough uprooting and washing away, as in the following examples: Why are all your warriors (נִסְחַף) swept away (Jer. 46:15, see Rashi); a rain that (סוֹחֵף) washes away (Proverbs 28:3, see Metz. Tzion); and in the Mishnah, “one’s field (נסתחפה) was washed away” (Kesubos 7b).

5) סחר: a merchant/trader — he is dragged from site to site, wandering around in every location that contains customers and clients, and dragging along his wares. For example: the king’s traders (סֹחֲרֵי) bought them (I Kings 10:28); (for) the seafaring merchant (סֹחֵר) of Sidon (Isaiah 23:2). We also have a slight allusion to this link in the fact that the Aramaic word for a merchant is תַּגַר (see Targum Yonasan to both of the verses), which is close to the word “גרר” (dragged).

6) סחש: Fruits in the field that were planted in the previous year are called סָפִיחַ. The fruits that grow in the subsequent year from the leftover seeds that were “dragged along” from the previous year’s סָפִיחַ are called the סָחִישׁ: And this shall be the sign for you; You will eat this year of the (סָפִיחַ) aftercrop, and in the second year from the סָחִישׁ (II Kings 19:29, see Ralbag, Metz. Tzion). This verse is also repeated verbatim in Isaiah 37:30, with the word סָחִישׁ appearing in a permutated form of the original, שָׁחִיס (with Radak explaining that this is one of a number of examples of this nature in Scripture, such as כֶּבֶשׂ and כֶּשֶׂב, or שַׂלְמָה and שִׂמְלָה).

7) כסח: This word has various related meanings. In Psalms 80:17, we find: consumed by fire, כְּסוּחָה, with Rashi explaining that כְּסוּחָה means razed by fire, and is linked to the word זמר, prune, as we find that in the verse, and your vineyard you shall not (תִזְמוֹר) prune (Lev. 25:4), Onkelos translates תִזְמוֹר as תִכְסָח. In Isaiah 5:25, we find: and their corpses will be כַּסוּחָה. Ibn Ezra interprets it as thrown away, and links it to the aforementioned כְּסוּחָה. However, Rashi treats the first letter כַּ not as part of the root, but simply as the prefix “כ”, which means “like.” He thus interprets כַּסוּחָה to mean “like the spit and phlegm (which as we already noted earlier, is referred to by the Sages as סִיחַ), which is expectorated from the person’s body and is repugnant.

8) פסח: In our verse, it is simply a noun, the name of the offering brought on the eve of Passover. However, elsewhere in Scripture it appears in verb form, meaning to pass over. For example, I shall see the blood, (וּפָסַחְתִּי) and I shall pass over you. Now, in his commentary to that verse, Rashi first notes that some interpret it to mean I will have mercy on you, as we find in Isaiah (31:5), פָּסוֹחַ וְהִמְלִיט, meaning having mercy for and delivering. However, he then adds, “But I say that every instance of פסח in Scripture is an expression of leaping and passing over. [Here,] וּפָסַחְתִּי means that God passed over the Israelite homes to enter the Egyptian homes, as they lived interspersed among one another [the two interpretations originate in a dispute between R’ Yishmael and R’ Josiah in Mechilta]. The second interpretation is indeed the far more accepted one; hence, the name “Passover” for the festival of the Exodus from Egypt.

Thus, according to Rashi, the rescue of the Israelites occurred through the uprooting and diversion of the destroying angel from his intended route, which is defined here as a leaping and passing over. I would like to propose that this may also be alluded to in the alternative exposition of פֶּסַח suggested by Arizal, פֶּה סַח” (the mouth speaks),” albeit with an alternate vowelization and meaning of פֹּה סַח, meaning, here I diverted. In other words, God says: “Here I diverted the destroying angel, causing him to leap over his original path of destruction.” In this manner we can also answer the question we raised earlier: Why does the word פֶּסַח allude to פֶּה סַח, which seemingly implies that we must not only relate the tale of the Exodus, but we must do so with a “lack of attention”? For the diversion alluded to by the word סַח is not meant to imply that we should relate this story with a “diverted mind,” i.e., a lack of attention. Rather, it is intended as an allusion that, in relating the story of the Exodus, we should be sure to stress the diversion of the destroying angel that was at the heart of the Passover miracle.

In closing, let us raise our voice in prayer, that the Almighty shall constantly divert (יסיח) and sweep away (יסחף) our enemies and foes from their evil schemes, and may He uproot them (יכחסם) and leave them lame (פיסחים), and cause the Final Redemption to leap forward speedily in our times, Amen.