I had the pleasure of reading some of the derashot (speeches) of Rabbi Zvi Dov Kanotopsky, zt”l, recently published in a new book, Rejoice in Your Festivals: Penetrating Insights Into Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. Rabbi Kanotopsky was my uncle, known to me as a child as Uncle Beryl. He tragically passed away when I was ten years old.
A few snippets from the book:
From Pesach, March 29, 1945–
This season of spring ushers in the week of Passover. Whereas the winter conjures up images of hardship and drudgery, confinement and constraint, the spring symbolizes a freer mankind. Men throw off their heavy loads and life becomes easier. Spiritual leaders speak of freedoms and liberations that have been won in the past and those that are yet to come. We discuss in joy Pesach Mitzrayim, the Passover in Egypt, and we discuss with hope the future geulah, the forthcoming redemption.
From Pesach, April 15, 1946–
Even as in the days when we had our own Bet ha-Mikdash, when the Paschal sacrifice was brought on the fourteenth day of Nisan and the Festival of Freedom was celebrated in all its joyous ceremonials, so too today the world is in the midst of celebrating a festival of freedom after having just brought the required sacrifices.
These have been dear sacrifices! It has been a terrible price that we paid for the freedom we earned. On this first Passover after the triumph of the forces who battled for this freedom and who brought the sacrifice, the millions of sacrifices, on this Passover it would serve us well to being to discriminate and differentiate.
From Pesach, April 19, 1954–
The concept of the Four Sons tells that not all children are equal. They have varying abilities and different personalities. We must recognize that our children have different needs, ask different questions and require different answers and even different modes of instruction.