"It was easier to get the children of Israel out of Egypt than to get Egypt out of them."
FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM - ARE WE FREE?
Passover is an excellent occasion to discuss the notion of freedom and slavery, as Passover commemorates the rescue of the Jewish people, their escape from slavery in Egypt and their liberation as an independent people.
The Talmud says: "Beloved is the man for he was created in the image." The fact that we are all made in the image of God means that we all have free will - the ability to make meaningful choices, choices that affect our lives. These choices determine the moral and spiritual quality of each person's existence.
"We thank you, our Eternal God, for giving our ancestors a beautiful and spacious land as an inheritance, and also for delivering us from the land of Egypt and redeeming us from slavery; We give thanks to You for sealing Your holy covenant on our flesh, for teaching us Your Torah, for making known Your laws, for giving us a gracious life full of love, and for the food with which You nourish and sustain us every day and at all times and in all hours."
How does this quote define freedom?
How can the adoption of the Torah and its commandments be "freedom"? What freedom is this? What does it free us from?
TALMUD, KIDDUSHIN 26B
"AND THE EGYPTIANS TREATED US WICKEDLY, AND THEREFORE THEY TORMENTED US AND MADE US WORK HARD."
"AND THE EGYPTIANS TREATED US WICKEDLY" - as Pharaoh said; let us outsmart them, and not let them multiply, for they are even capable of joining our enemies in war and will fight against us and withdraw from the land."
"AND THEREFORE THEY HAVE TORMENTED US" - as the Scripture says, "and have set over them jailers to torment them with torture; and they have built Pharaoh the cities of storehouses, Pythom and Rameses."
"AND MADE US WORK HARD" - the Egyptians held the children of Israel in harsh slavery.
Smot (Exodus) 32:11-13
De Mózes könyörgött az Örökkévaló, az ő Istene színe előtt és mondta: Miért; oh Örökkévaló gerjedjen fel haragod néped ellen, melyet kihoztál Egyiptom országából nagy erővel és hatalmas kézzel? Miért szóljanak az Egyiptomiak, mondván: Vesztükre hozta ki őket, hogy megölje őket a hegyek között és elpusztítsa őket a föld színéről; térj meg haragod felgerjedéséből és gondold meg a népednek szánt veszedelmet. Emlékezzél meg Ábrahámról, Izsákról és Izraelről, a te szolgáidról, akiknek megesküdtél magadra és szóltál hozzájuk: Megsokasítom magzatotokat, mint az ég csillagait és ezt az egész országot, amelyről szóltam, odaadom magzatotoknak, hogy bírják örökre. És az Örökkévaló meggondolta a veszedelmet, amelyről szólt, hogy cselekszi az ő népével.
WHEN HAVE YOU STOOD UP FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN? WHY? WHEN HAVEN'T YOU? WHY? WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? WHEN HAVE YOU TAKEN A BIG RISK?
Moses not only stood up to Pharaoh and the Egyptian political system, but he had the chutzpah to stand up to God himself at critical moments. When the Eternal vows to destroy the whole nation because of the sin of the golden calf, Moses demands that he change his mind and protect his people. God uses His logic to show Him why He must reverse His decision. And Moses also shows God why it will work in his (God's) favour if he forgives the people. Moses is at once thinking outside the box by rearranging what is already known in a new way and speaking truth to the face of the guiding force. The covenant is saved, and ultimately God agrees with Moses.
HOW IS THIS SEDER NIGHT DIFFERENT FROM THE USUAL SEDER?
At other Seders, there is only a single cup in the middle of the table awaiting the arrival of Eliyahu the prophet, but at our table, we have a cup for Miriam!
In other Seder eves, almost all the narration of the exodus from Egypt is about men; in this Seder, the key female characters in the story are mentioned.
On other Seder tables, we do not see oranges among the traditional symbolic foods, but on our table, oranges are an important symbol.
In other Seder eves, only the usual traditional symbols appear, but in this Seder, we dare to think further about the idea of freedom, and we also place new symbols to think about those who, in a sense, still cannot be free.