What’s so bad about being a Slave? Not a bad day job, right?

The Dubna Maagid explains that the worst part of the Jewish people’s “Avodah Kasha” hard back breaking labor wasn’t the fact that it was eh, hard and back breaking...rather the worst and most painful part was the purposelessness of the Jewish people’s work...The Egyptians tortured the Jewish people mentally as well as physically. After all there is value in building a pyramid, but for it to be destroyed again and again for the humor of vicious Egyptian slave master is tortuous. Someone who is engaged with doing nothing of purpose with their days may be as enslaved, as depressed, and as miserable as the Jewish People in Egypt...We should ensure that our lives have meaning, progress and most of all purpose in whatever we do! (from R’ David Wilensky, Allentown PA)

Why are we still be obligated to discuss this story if we already know it?? Part of why we tell the story of leaving Egypt is actually feel like you are there tonight, - knowing and feeling are two different things – so no matter how much you read in books, really “feeling” redemption can only be reached by vocalizing the experience. That everyone must do! (Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, from the Minchas Asher)

Where is Moses, Moshe, Charleton Heston??

Has anyone noticed that the hero of the night (i..e. Moses) seems to be missing in this whole story? His name is only mentioned once (some hagadas even skip this part!) and there he is only mentioned ‘as the servant of Hashem’? How can this be? In the Torah his name is everywhere! Imagine the Ten Commandments without Moses!? The idea here is that Moshe is not the star on Seder night, the star of the night is God and only Him. It is a night of growing and building our faith, emunah, in something Higher than man. Sitting down with grandparents who sat at their grandparent's tables (some of who had Seders in the worst conditions imaginable (my grandparents had seder on a boat from Shanghai, China after the War--I believe the US delivered matzohs to Hawaii!) and focusing on the Star of the night, which is none other than Hashem. This might be why the final plague is death, as that is a time when most people realize how powerless they are in the greater scheme of life. The goal of the night in one sentence is to instill within our children and within ourselves that Hashem is always there for us even in the most difficult of circumstances and even when it seems like we can never get out of such a bad situation, Hashem is always there for us. (R’ Yoni Henner, Jerusalem)

Egypt: Asphyxiation of the soul.

The word for Egypt in Hebrew is Mitzrayim. Those same letters produce Metzarim -- boundaries. Mitzrayim represented not only a profoundly debased spiritual level, but limitations. If you don't have room to breathe, life can begin to feel suffocating, like the mikvah on erev rosh hashana. Pesach is the holiday for breaking through those limitations, for breaking free of all those things that imprison us, for moving through the spiritual barriers, peer pressures and distractions that life (and Tivo) can throw at us. If we realize that this is the time to feel alive again then the next 8 days will be like waking up to no school on a snow day. FREEDOM!

haggadah Section: Introduction
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