“In Every generation each should see him or herself as if he or she personally went out from Egypt”
What does it mean to see yourself as if you were there crossing from the parched and hopeless desert of slavery to the promise of new life and freedom? What does it mean that the Passover Haggadah asks us to reenact events that may have taken place 3,000 years ago?
It means that the events of Exodus are more than myth. That is not to say we must believe that every detail is historical fact but we are asked to live them as if we personally were there. Through questions, food, conversation and song, we are meant to tell the story. More than that, we are meant to tell it as if it were our own.
The Passover Haggadah contains reflections on slavery and freedom, power and powerlessness that stretch a 3,000 year period through trials and tribulations over many centuries and in many lands. The story is not of a singular event that has passed but one that speaks to each new era of Jews.
Passover asks several haunting questions of us. No matter how free we feel, are we ever truly free?
What price would we pay in exchange for our freedom? What does Passover demand of us and toward those who are still enslaved? What are the personal stories of our redemption that we are meant to pass on?
On both of my April visits, we will consider these questions as we prepare for this most important celebration. Through stories, sermon and text studies during my April 8th weekend visit and then our community Seder on Saturday, April 23rd, we will consider these questions and this holiday that is considered the birthday of the Jewish people.
In every generation Jews have been asked to see themselves as if they were personally freed from bondage. Now, it is our turn.