Home April 2012 Passing Over Passover

Passing Over Passover

“In every generation it is one’s duty to see himself as though he personally had gone out of Egypt.”
A number of fascinating insights surface in analyzing this passage.  Why does the Haggadah say, “in every generation”?  One would think that it would have sufficed to say, “It is one’s duty to see himself…”  It would obviously apply to all generations.  We do not find any similar statement regarding other mitzvot.  For example, we are not told, “In every generation it is one’s duty to sit in a sukkah.”  Furthermore, how can one possibly see himself as if he had gotten out of Egypt, an event that took place over three thousand years ago?  Can any of us really feel what the Exodus must have felt like?  Would it not have sufficed for us to know that our fathers were taken out of Egypt?  Why is there a need to make it a “personal” Exodus?
Early in the Haggadah it states, “Blessed be He who keeps His promise to Israel . . . and it is this promise which stood by our fathers and by us . . . .but in every generation they rise up against us to destroy us, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, delivers us from their hands.”  This teaches us that the Divine promise to Avraham Avinu of both exile and redemption was not limited to Egypt but extends to all exiles of the future, which occur “b’kol dor v’dor” (in each generation).  Exile and redemption are not an historical event but an ongoing relationship that we have with God, a relationship experienced anew “in every generation.”  Perhaps this is the “duty” to which the Haggadah refers – that we are obligated in each generation to see ourselves as having been redeemed from our own generation’s exile, our own generation’s miracle of redemption as part of our ongoing exile-redemption relationship with God, all of which find their roots in the Egyptian exile and redemption.
A Final Note: Who Must Give?
At the very beginning of the Seder we stop and ponder the matzo: ha lachma ania (poor man’s bread).  At that very moment we also invite all those less fortunate to join with us!  We the hosts have only the matzo, only lechm oni: we ourselves are poor and yet we offer to share.
Real giving is from what we ourselves need and our willingness to invite others to partake with us is a demonstration of true chesed (righteous kindness).  The lesson is that we must always be willing to share; even when we think we have little to offer others.

APRIL 2012
Nissan-Iyar 5772
Candle Lighting Times
and Torah Portions

Friday, April 6
Light candles at 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 7
Torah Portion:
Special Passover Reading
Friday, April 13
Light candles at 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, April 14
Torah Portion:
Special Passover Reading;
Yizkor
Friday, April 20
Light candles at 7:11 p.m.
Saturday, April 21
Torah Portion: Shemini
(Leviticus 9:1-11:47)
Friday, April 27
Light candles at 7:16 p.m.
Saturday, April 28
Torah Portion: Tazria-Metzora
(Leviticus 12:1-15:33)

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