Rabbi Yehoshua Alt

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לעילוי נשמת שמואל אביגדור בן יצחק מאיר

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R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

Is It Night Or Day?

1) We read in the Haggada that R’ Eliezer, R’ Yehoshua, R’ Elazar Ben Azarya, R’ Akiva and R’ Tarfon were in Bnei Brak discussing Yetzias Mitzrayim the entire night until their students told them it was time for Krias Shema. How are we to understand that such holy people needed to be reminded to recite Shema?

2) We are taught that Hallel may be recited only by day.[1] The Sefas Emes[2] therefore asks how can we recite Hallel on the night of Pesach?

3) To get redeemed, Hashem gave us two commandments- the Karbon Pesach and Bris Mila. Rashi[3] tells us that they performed Bris Mila that night. This is problematic since Mila can only be performed during the day?[4]

4) If the Mitzva of סיפור יציאת מצרים is at night, why does it say והגדת לבנך ביום ההוא?[5]


The Zohar informs us that the night of Pesach was comparable to תקופת תמוז, light like the summer.[6] This is just as it says לילה כיום יאיר; night shines like the day.[7] The following are some illustrations of this:

  1. A) One interpretation given in מה נשתנה הלילה הזה is why is this night different (since it is like the day).[8]
  2. B) The story with Avraham and the Malachim occurred on Pesach. It says there כחם היום;[9] heat of the day, alluding to this night of light.


With this insight, we can answer our questions. The reason the aforementioned sages were told to recite Krias Shema is because it literally appeared as the day time. In fact, the word בני ברק can be interpreted as light as in קלת וברקים; thunder and lighting.[10] Additionally, מספרים is related to ספיר; shine, as it was like daylight.


Since the night of Pesach is like day, we can therefore recite Hallel at night.[11] For the same reason, Bris Mila was able to be performed that night. Following the same approach, this is why it states והגדת לבנך ביום ההוא.


That spiritual light was so clear and brilliant to the extent that the atmosphere at nighttime was actually light. Every year on Pesach night that light comes although we may not see it. The more spiritually cleansed we are, the more we can tap into it.  We should all merit to feel this tremendous potent light and tap into it according to our ability.

[1] Megila 20

[2] Pesach, תרמ”ד, s.v. בנוסח. An allusion to that Hallel is recited the night of Pesach is found in ליל שמורים הוא לה’ להוציאם; it is a night of anticipation for Hashem to them out of Mitzrayim, where the initials spell הלל (Chida in Chomas Incha in the name of the Rokeach).

[3] Shemos 12:6, s.v. והיה

[4] Yevamos 72

[5] Shemos, 13:8. See Ohr Hachaim there.

[6] Zohar, Shemos 38a. This also explains ביום הכותי כל בכור; on the day I struck every firstborn (Bamidbar 8:17).

[7] Tehillim 139:12. In this way, we can comprehend זה היום עשה ה’ נגילה ונשמחה בו (Tehillim 118:24), as Hashem made this night like day. We, therefore, should rejoice on this day.

[8] See Oros HaGra

[9] Breishis 18:1

[10] Shemos 19:16. See also Yoma 28a, Rashi s.v. ברקאי.

[11] The intensity of the holiness of this night is so strong that it is guarded against harmful spirits (Rosh Hashana 11b, Shemos 12:42, Rashi. see Maharsha Pesachim 109b). We, therefore, only need to say the first paragraph of Shema and Hamapil (Orach Chaim 481:2 with the Mishna Brura and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 119:9).

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