An ultimate answer to one of the Seder’s questions is deeply embedded in the Passover Haggadah: It’s not us, it’s Him! The redemption of Passover did not occur because of us. We did not rebel against the Egyptians, we did not fight against them. The Holy One Blessed Be He fought for us and we were silent. We were not deserving of this redemption. At the beginning, our forefathers were idol worshippers. God took Abraham and chose him. G-d’s choosing the people of Israel in Egypt did not derive from any external justification, since we too worshipped idols, and yet with His divine choice (that is beyond our explanation) G-d chose precisely us.
On this night of the Seder we get in touch with the realization that something great is happening in the world and it does not depend upon a choice that we make in our lives. A nation came into existence that was chosen by G-d for a great mission. Whether we want it or not, that’s the way it is. We were willed by G-d to go into Egypt and against our will (if need be) we will go out from there. Those among us who indeed want to go out will sing; those who do not, will cry — but in any case we will leave Egypt. It’s an event that takes place without any connection to the question of whether we wish to take part in it or not.
Tonight, even if we will not be worthy of redemption we will be redeemed. Even if we are idol worshippers like the Egyptians themselves, the King of Kings will pass over us and not slay us. It’s not us, it’s Him. The Master of the Universe chose to create a people for Himself. A creation that we cannot deny. He gave us the ability to choose within certain parameters, but we cannot change our mission. The covenant that was created between us and Him is bigger that all of the choices and all of the passing events.
All that remains for us to do is to praise, glorify, exalt, and adore G-d. And to know: in the final redemption the rules change. No longer miracles. No longer haste. No longer G-d who does everything for us. We will need to take part in the redemption of ourselves, we will need to want it, because our faces are turned to a precious land (“eretz chefetz”). And yet, we will always speak of the first redemption, because only someone who has from the beginning experienced in a complete way this eternal covenant of the creation of Israel, will find the strength to make the right choice and to work toward the future redemption.
Teddy Weinberger, Ph.D., is Director of Development for a consulting company called Meaningful. He made aliyah with his family in 1997 from Miami, where he was an assistant professor of religious studies. Teddy and his wife, Sarah Jane Ross, have five children.