There are many passages in the Pesach Seder that challenge us to self-reflect. Two are particularly poignant, beginning with the passage that tells us:   

בְּכָל דּוֹר וְדוּר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרִיִים 

“In every generation, each person is obligated to oneself as if one had personally gone out of Mitzrayim (ancient Egypt).” 

Often, with the obligations of daily life, we regard ourselves as stuck, lacking choices, and existing without options. The above verse challenges us to regard ourselves from the perspective of a free person. More pointedly, it challenges us to see ourselves as individuals who have just become free: just exited Mitzrayim, which literally means “narrow places.” Exiting narrow places into the open space of freedom can be exciting, challenging, and humbling.  

The second passage contains a question asked by Rasha, who is often maligned as the so-called “wicked” or “rebellious” of the four children. Rasha asks:

? מָה זֹאת לָכֶם

“What does this [Pesach service] mean to you?” 

The rabbis of the Haggadah suggest that by saying “to you,” this child separates him/herself from the community. Seen another way, Rasha’s question can be viewed as the very legitimate inquiry our children make of us as adults, parents, and teachers: What does Pesach really mean to you? 

This question challenges us to reflect on why we engage in the Pesach ritual, why the Pesach messages of justice and mercy matter to us so much, and why we want our children to learn these values. 

In both verses, we are required to think very carefully about the meaning of freedom, Pesach, and our Judaism, so that we can serve as role models and teach our children well.  

Chag Kasher Vesameach,  

Moreh Greg 

 

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