The answers to the questions come from Michael Dorf, the Downtown Seder
On this night we overcome the darkness with the light of creation, so that we can all see each other face to face as equals.
1. Why, on this night celebrating our freedom, do we insist on the eating of the bread of slavery?
Because on this night, more than any other night, we must remember that we can never be truly free until all people everywhere can share in our freedom. We remember that, fortunate as we may be, there are still so many people around the world who have no choice but to eat their matzah, because that is all they have.
2. Why on this night celebrating our freedom, do we eat these bitter herbs?
Because on this night, more than any other night, we must remember the past, so as to ensure that we are not trapped in the complacency of the present. On this night we reflect on the adage that those who forget the past are condemned to relive it, and remember how tenuous our own freedom is.
3. Why do we dip the herbs twice tonight, first in salt water and then in sweet charoset ?
Because on this night, more than any other night, we must recognize that there are people everywhere whose tears still drench their food. Then we dip again in the charoset to represent not only the mortar that our ancestors once used in Egypt, but also the mortar that we must all use to build a better world. By dipping twice we declare that it is not enough to recognize the tears of others, but that we must take real steps to build a sweeter world for them.
4. Why on this night, when we remember the sorrows of others, do we insist on celebrating?
Because on this night, more than on any other night, we recognize that freedom is an ongoing process and that we are here to take the first steps. And though we may not see the fruit of all our efforts, we celebrate knowing that we are laying the groundwork for future generations, descendants of Adam and of Eve, to truly celebrate a Pesach of freedom.
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