For the parents to give over to the children at the Pesach seder
Make It Come Alive
The Haggadah states, "In every generation one is obligated to regard himself as though he himself had actually gone out from Egypt." Rav Chaim Friedlander expounds on this point saying that the mitzvos that we perform at the Seder are the means which enable us to feel that we ourselves actually went out of Egypt. We eat maror (bitter herbs) to feel the bitterness of the slavery. We eat charoses to remember the mortar from which the bricks were made. On the other hand, we eat the matzah to feel the speed with which the deliverance came. We recline to sit like a free man. The mitzvah of sipur yetzias Mitzraim (telling the story of the exodus from Egypt) also generates this feeling of having been there in person. The Haggadah states, "Even if we were all wise, all men of understanding and experience, all fully versed in the Torah, we would still be obligated to tell about the exodus from Egypt; and whoever tells about it at length is praiseworthy." Children, did you ever meet a person who has had a wonderful thing happen to him in his life? He loves talking about it.
He can tell over the story of how it happened many times, and not get tired of it. He tells the story in its minutest detail, because each part adds to the story. If we pay attention children, we notice something even more than that. When the person is telling the story, he is so animated, he virtually relives the event each time he tells the story. That is sipur yetzias Mitzraim children. Telling over the story of the exodus from Egypt in such detail and with such animation that we actually feel we are reliving it. Rav Friedlander divides the story into three parts: slavery, freedom, and praising Hashem. The details presented here are taken from the Yalkut Meam Loez.
Here I am in Egypt, facing another day of slavery. I did not even sleep in my house last night. Paroh made me sleep in the field so I could begin to work gathering the straw as soon as I woke up. No matter how much straw I gather I still cannot make enough bricks. One of my own fellow Jews watches over me, counting the bricks I make. If there are not enough bricks, they hit me. Ouch, stop beating me, it really hurts. Worse than that, I have seen them put a baby in the wall that we are building in place of the missing bricks. We do not even have any satisfaction from our work. As soon as we build something, it falls down. I am so tired; I need to take a break. However, I am a slave, and a slave never gets a break. I want to be home tending to the children, instead of out here making bricks. My husband is taking care of the home. Yesterday, my friend gave birth to a baby boy and they threw him in the Nile River. They say that Paroh has a skin disease and needs to bathe in blood twice each day. They kill 150 of our children to make a bath of blood from him. This slavery is terrible. How can we ever escape?
Those cruel Egyptians have no water to drink. The entire Nile River turned to blood. They are so thirsty. I saw them trying to draw water from a barrel. It had also turned to blood. We, the Jews, are the only ones who have water here in Egypt. An Egyptian tried to take water from my barrel. For me it was water but for him it was blood. They have no power over us. We control all of the water. If they buy water from us, it does not turn to blood. We can ask whatever price we want for the water. They have no choice but to pay it. They are at our mercy.
There they are, washed up on the shores of the Red Sea. All of those Egyptians who oppressed us are now dead. I see the one who used to beat me so cruelly. He died a terrible death. He was tossed up and down in the water many times before he drowned. We are free from their oppression at last.
Praise to Hashem
How can I ever thank you enough, Hashem? I was hopelessly enslaved in a land from which no slave ever escaped. I was beaten, tortured, and my children were taken from me and killed. You punished my oppressors, then freed our entire nation. You did something which has never been done before or since. You took an entire nation out from the midst of another nation. You did it so fast, that our dough did not even have a chance to rise. You destroyed their land, made a mockery of their idols. We came to the Red Sea, faced with destruction on all sides. You saved us, by taking us through the sea on dry land. I am speechless, in awe of this miracle. We are now in a desert, what will we eat? What will we drink? What will shelter us from the sun? Miracle food appears at our doors each morning. A miracle well travels with us. You surround us with Your Clouds of Glory. Hashem, how can we adequately praise You for all of the kindness You have done for us? Before, we were slaves to Paroh. You freed us. Now we want to serve you. Let us all sing Hallel, songs of praise to You.
The Real Slavery
Rav Dessler says that the physical slavery was external. The real bondage was the internal spiritual enslavement. The taskmaster was and is our eternal enemy, the yetzer hora. He keeps us from freely serving Hashem with all of our hearts. That Heavenly power that freed us from the physical bondage of Egypt is available every Pesach to help us free ourselves from the spiritual bondage of the yetzer hora. May Hashem help us all succeed this year, in attaining true freedom.
Enjoy your Pesach seder!
Enjoy your Shabbos table !
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