5 Cheshvan 5781 / Friday, October 23, 2020 | Torah Reading: Noach
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The KP (Kosher for Passover) Brain    

The KP (Kosher for Passover) Brain

Without a doubt, our homes will all be kosher for Passover. But what about our brains? Have we started to do anything about ridding them from troubling and forbidden thoughts?


Reuven ben Istrubali, if alive today, would have been one of the world's most prominent attorneys, or maybe head of the Mossad. A contemporary of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai in the difficult century of Roman persecution that followed the destruction of the Second Temple, Reuven was one of our people's key diplomatic troubleshooters, and undercover at that.
The Romans had issued three indescribably harsh edicts against the Jewish People in the Land of Israel: the Jews were no longer allowed to observe the Sabbath, perform circumcision, or practice family purity. These edicts were punishable by death and were more of an existential threat to the Jewish People than physical mass persecution.
Our national leaders appealed to Reuven ben Istrubali to try and do something.
Reuven first of all shaved his beard and had his hair cut in the exact style of the Roman noblemen. He travelled to Rome, dressed in the finest white-silk tunic and gold-embroidered cape. He sat down with a group of Roman senators as if he were a Roman aristocrat from birth. In perfect Latin, he asked them, “Do we want our enemies to be rich or poor?”
“Poor, of course,” they chimed in unison.
“Then why do we make the Israelites open their businesses seven days a week?” Reuven asked.  “They'll naturally make more money. Do we want them to be able to buy weapons and revolt against us?”
On the spot, the senators rescinded the decree that outlawed observing the Sabbath.
Reuven then asked the senators, “Do we want our enemies to be weak or strong?”
“Most certainly, they should be weak!” responded the senators.
“Then why do we outlaw their circumcision of their eight-day old sons? With their own hands, they weaken their babies when they're still small. What could be more ideal for us?”
On the spot, the senators rescinded the decree that forbade circumcision.
Reuven then added, “Do we want our enemies to be many or few?”
“We definitely don't want them to be many,” the senators replied.
In a most convincing tone, Reuven said, “Then why do we force them to have conjugal relations all month long? They'll multiply in the millions! Why don't we force them to limit their relations with their wives? Isn't that much more logical?”

Then and there, the senators cancelled the prohibition against observing the family purity laws.

The above story comes from the Gemara, tractate Meila, 17a. What are our sages trying to teach us?
Reuven ben Istrubal executed a fantastic exercise of intellectual Aikado. He used the momentum of the Roman intellectual weapon – logic – and turned it against them to cancel the decrees.
When we look at the mitzvoth through logical eyes, it seems that they're detrimental. It looks like we'll make less money if we don't work on the Sabbath. It seems that subjecting our baby boys to such a painful ritual at the age of eight days will weaken them. And it seems that by limiting conjugal relations to the ritually-pure days of the month, we'll have fewer children.
In reality, all three of the above suppositions are not true.
The Torah's commandments are neither logical nor are they based on human logic. They are the products of Divine logic. And, the only way we can begin to grasp even the slightest thread of Divine logic is by way of emuna.
We can now understand why Kabbala calls our Sabbath meals, the “meals of emuna”. Logic says that we'll lose money by closing our stores on the Sabbath, the day when the malls are busiest. But in reality, our observance of the Sabbath actually insures a better income, and certainly a more pleasurable income.
In observing the Torah's commandments, Rebbe Nachman of Breslev stresses that we must cast logic aside and serve Hashem with utter innocence and simplicity, trusting fully that Hashem knows what's best for the health of our souls.
Rabbi Natan of Breslev adds a wonderful perk to casting logic aside: those who do so gain freedom of the mind.
The evil inclination is even more convincing than even Reuven ben Istrubali. Rebbe Natan explains that the evil inclination torments a person with negative thoughts by attaching itself to that person's logic and making everything in that person's head look like a doomsday scenario. What's more, writes Rebbe Natan, don't ever try to reason or argue with your evil inclination, because you'll lose both the argument and your peace of mind. “Logical” people are therefore prime candidates for sadness, depression and confusion. But, by casting our logic aside and telling ourselves that we don't understand a thing, and by accepting our circumstance with simple emuna, we neutralize negative thoughts. Suddenly we're happier, we smile more and we sleep better. We literally become healthier.
Now that Purim is over, we swing into high gear with our Passover cleaning. But don't forget the inner dimension of our preparations for this wonderful holiday - Passover is not a mere annual house-cleaning. Hashem wants us to clean our brains from the logic, which like chametz (leavened bread), enables the evil inclination to ferment our brains. The evil inclination is like yeast or other leavening agent, capable of blowing a little problem or an insignificant thought way out of proportion until it completely occupies our brain.
We can now understand how the Zohar calls matza, the “bread of emuna”.
Matza is flour and water – utter simplicity, just like emuna. A KP brain should be the same way. By substituting the logic in our brains with emuna and simplicity, there is nothing for the evil inclination to attach itself to. The result is a brain free of negative thoughts, a KP brain! A brain with emuna actually uplifts us to places where logic can never reach.
There are so many things going on nowadays which we don't understand. But if we really want to enjoy our Passover holiday this year, we should strive for a KP brain. Just as we change our dishes on Passover, let's substitute our feeble human logic with emuna. Wait and see how lovely life begins to be.

Happy and Kosher Passover! 

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