Our story starts in ancient times, with Abraham, the first person to stop worshiping idols and worship Adonai (or G-d). Abraham entered into a covenant with G-d which inspired him to leave his family and begin a new people in Canaan. G-d had made a promise to Abraham that his family would become a great nation, but this promise came with a frightening vision of the troubles along the way: “Your descendants will dwell for a time in a land that is not their own, and they will be enslaved and afflicted for four hundred years; however, I will punish the nation that enslaved them, and afterwards they shall leave with great wealth."

Many years later, Abraham’s grandson, Jacob moved his family to Egypt. Once there our numbers grew, and soon the family of Jacob became the People of Israel. Pharaoh and the leaders of Egypt grew alarmed by this great nation growing within their borders, so they enslaved us. We were forced to perform hard labor, perhaps even building pyramids. The Egyptians feared that even as slaves, the Israelites might grow strong and rebel. So Pharaoh decreed that Israelite baby boys should be drowned, to prevent the Israelites from overthrowing those who had enslaved them.

One couple, Jochebed and Amram sent teir baby son Moses in a basket down the Nile River with his sister Miriam watching the basket containing her brother. The basket floated to where the daughter of Pharaoh was. She kept the child, called him her own and raised him in the palace. One day Moses was walking through the fields where the Israelite men were working and he saw an Egyptian servant whip an Israelite man. Moses struck the Egyptian and killed him. Then Moses ran out to the desert. There he found a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire. G-d spoke through the bush to Moses. G-d told Moses to go tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go.

So Moses listened to G-d and he returned to Egypt and demanded that Pharaoh release the Israelites from bondage. Pharaoh refused! As a result G-d sent ten plagues upon Egypt. At the time of each plague, Pharaoh promised to free the Jewish slaves, but then he refused again when the plagues subsided.

haggadah Section: -- Exodus Story