Monday, April 6, 2009

Pesach: It's all about "Me"

In the Haggadah we read how, in each and every generation, we must see ourselves as though we personally went out from Egypt. This is a central message of Pesach, perhaps the fundamental experience of the whole seder. It’s not enough just to imagine what it was like for the Israelites as slaves leaving Egypt. On a gut level, we are to feel as though it happened to us: we literally taste the bitterness of slavery through the Maror, the bitter herb. We feel the wonder and terror of the plagues. We sing out in joy as we witness our Redemption. The Hebrew word "Haggadah" means "The Telling." It is through the stories that we tell that we build our understanding of the world, of who we are, of the nature of Truth. The very identities that each of us hold as "ourselves" are really a collection of personal stories that we believe about ourselves. Through the experience of Pesach, we add to our personal narrative, the story of the redemption of our people. We hold in our deepest heart of hearts the Truth that the miracle of Redemption from suffering is possible for each and every one of us, because it happened to us—to "me"—in Egypt all those years ago.
This Pesach, may the story of our own lives be deepened by the story of our "personal" Redemption from Egypt. May we find personal meaning , richness and joy knowing that we were 'there,' that we tasted not only the bitterness, but the sweetness of real Freedom. May our shared personal story of liberation give us the inner strength to face any challenges that life may present to us, and to bring about justice and Redemption in this world, because we know that we have lived the miracle.
A Zissen Pesach, a Sweet Pesach to all!

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