Lessons for Pesach from the Haggadah
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On the Chabad website we come across some interesting ideas and thoughts that may interest you and we are sharing them in an abbreviated form. These lessons are based on Pesach and the Haggadah.
These Haggadah tidbits were written by Tzvi Freedman.
Bio: Over the past 40 years, Tzvi Freeman has run a public Seder almost every year, at various Chabad Houses and Pesach resorts. Rabbi Freeman is a senior editor at Chabad.org, and author of several books, including two volumes (third one on its way) of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. For bio, info and more articles by this author, click here.
1. The Exodus & the Messianic Era
...all the days since that first mass escape are really one long exodus. Every day, whatever we are doing, wherever we are doing it, is another step in leaving our personal exile, and the exile of the whole world. It’s just that leaving Egypt was the first leap forward, and ever since then, we’re running on that impetus.
All human freedom began with the Exodus.
2. The Four Children + Another One
We know about 'The Wise Child', 'The Chilled-out Child' (a term Rabbi Freeman uses), 'The Simple Child' and 'The Inquisitive Child'. Who/what is the '5th Child'?
The 5th child is the one who didn’t turn up on Seder night. Probably not his fault. He might not even know it’s Passover. If he would, and if he knew how much we would like to see him, good chance he would be real eager to come.
There was a generation not long ago that was the wise child. They had learned much Torah and knew how to ask questions. Then there was a generation that learned Torah, but wanted out—the generation of the chilled-out child.
Next came a generation that learned only for the bar mitzvah, and could ask only simple questions. Then a generation that didn’t even know that there was a question to ask.
And now, the fifth child. The child who doesn’t even know that he or she is a Jew.
This Seder is for the fifth child as well. Because if we’re inspired enough by this Seder, we’ll make sure that the fifth child will be at the next one.
3. Slaves of Pharaoh
If you’re identifying with this story, that may be because it sums up the human condition. We’re all slaves of Pharaoh.
We’re enslaved by our positions in life, by our everyday tasks, and just by having physical bodies. That’s our Egypt.
We feel that way because we don’t really belong where we are. Because we’re all G‑d’s children. Within each one of us breathes a spark of the divine.
So, here’s this divine spark sent to earth on a mission to heal and transform the world, and instead it’s sitting in some cubicle creating dumb ads to convince people to buy stuff they don’t need. Or some other form of building storehouses for Pharaoh.
There’s a key difference, however. In Egypt, we could only wait for G‑d to take us out from there with miracles and wonders. In our case, G‑d is also waiting for us to do some miracles and wonders.
That’s why He gave us a Torah: to show us how to make miracles. To take the mud of a mundane world and transform it into the building bricks of a beautiful world.
We do our miracle, and He does the rest.
Why does no one else have a story about their people being miraculously redeemed from slavery?
It seems it never occurred anywhere else. And it’s not something you can make up and convince people it happened to them.
Meaning that with these miracles and wonders, the Creator was bringing something new into His universe: the idea of human freedom—that we really have no limits.
The Exodus was the beginning of the flattening of the Egyptian pyramid. It meant that even the guy at the bottom of society can talk with the Ultimate Boss of All Things, and his cry will be heard.
5. The Plagues
It seems these rabbis understood the plagues as a sort of detox program for Egypt. People’s behaviors, words and thoughts leave negative energy in the environment. The plagues of blood, lice, etc., were the effects of that negativity being released. That bad energy wasn’t letting us leave. But once it was cleaned up, we could get released too...
6. The Most Important thing at a Seder
Q. What is the most important thing to have at a Seder?
A. A Jew
The matzah didn’t leave Egypt. Neither did the wine or the bitter herbs. The lamb isn’t even here. The Jew is the only thing here that’s real. The Jew actually left Egypt...
7. Liberation in Every Generation
The Egyptians ruled over our bodies and our spirits. When we left Egypt, our spirits were eternally liberated. Whatever others may inflict upon us, we retain the power at any moment to connect to the Infinite and be free...