Adir Hu and Pesach -- Posted by hazzanmenes

There are many songs we sing to celebrate the chagim. However, each chag has one melody which represents the uniqueness of the holiday. When we hear that melody incorporated into the announcement of the month, we know that the chag is coming. The motif for Pesach is the tune which we associate with "Adir Hu." The melody goes back many years (we have a written version over 350 years old), and we don't know the original source; perhaps it is "misinai." The words were written in the 15th century and form an acrostic (each line beginning with the next letter of the aleph-bet). It begins "adir hu, yivneh veito b'karov", He is mighty, May He rebuild His house soon. We can understand the proclamation of God's might, since Pesach is clearly a celebration of God's awesome power, over nature, over kings, over injustice. But why would we link Pesach with the rebuilding of the Temple, His house?

Pesach is, above all else, a holiday of redemption. We were redeemed from slavery. We were brought back, ultimately, to Israel. Unfortunately, the redemption from Egypt wasn't enough. Perhaps in a theological sense it fulfilled God's covenant with Israel, but, as we know today, slavery and injustice continue: the redemption was not complete. Our freedom is not complete and will not be complete until all people can approach God in peace. Rebuilding His house is the process of tikkun olam, for His House is not simply the Temple in Jerusalem, it is the world. How fitting, then, are the words of Adir Hu, to ask for the rebuilding of God's house, soon.

The melody of Adir Hu is used in the Pesach service a number of times, when we sing "mi chamocha" and when we chant Hallel. When you hear this melody, think of its meaning, think of the continuation of our redemption, and the rebuilding of God's world, our world.