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Seeing Ourselves

04/18/2019 09:48:31 AM

Apr18

We read, at the seder, “In every generation, each person is supposed to see themselves as if they had emerged from Egypt.”   That’s why we tell the story of the seder in the first person.  Each of us is supposed to see it as our own story, to make it personal.   Our B’nai Torah Passover video (https://www.facebook.com/BnaiTorahAtlanta/videos/647588305680309/) reflects that theme in one way, but the idea is carried out in even greater depth in our seder experience.
 
We did not literally cross the Red Sea, but at every seder, we are supposed to put ourselves into the story, and act it out.  When we eat the charoset, we understand that it is not just our ancestors who toiled with the mortar.  When we eat Matzah, we visualize that it is not only our great-great-great grandparents who baked matzah because they not have time for bread to rise, but we ourselves.  Some people will go further and dress in costume!
 
However, the experience of the Exodus is not just a recounting of ancient history. Perhaps, as children, may have listened to aged relatives who read “we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt” and took those words literally, and thought that that was what was really happened to them.  We were not so far off.  They may not have left Egypt, but they fled other Pharaohs, other oppressors- Tzars, Nazis, or other dictators.
 
What about us?  Very few of us have ever been to Egypt, let alone fled slavery. And yet, each of us has our own personal Egypt. Perhaps we have been slaves to addiction.  Perhaps we have been crushed under the weight of physical or mental illness.  Perhaps we felt trapped in a bad family situation or a negative work environment.  Some of us can look back at the seder in gratitude for Egypts we have left, others may still be praying for liberation from those things that hold us back.  Either way, we can read ourselves into the story of those who seek freedom.  I hope that between this Passover and next, the story of the Exodus can become your story.
Thu, November 14 2019 16 Cheshvan 5780