Participant: As for the one who does not know how to ask, you must initiate him, as it is said: “You shall tell your child on that day.” And so you tell him:
Participant: In the beginning, our ancestors worshipped idols, but God called us to holy service. In the city of Ur, our father Abraham was the first person to know that the Lord is God, the Lord is One. Abraham rebelled against the universal practice of bowing down to idols. For this, Abraham had to flee to the land of Canaan, where he became the founder of a great nation. Abraham and his wife, Sarah, had a son, Isaac, who married Rebecca.
Participant: Their son Jacob married Leah and Rachel, together with their servants Bilhah and Zilpah. Jacob had 12 sons, but his favorite was Joseph, and unto this son he bestowed a coat of many colors. Joseph’s brothers grew jealous and they sold him to the Ishmaelites as a slave.
Participant: Joseph came to Egypt as a slave, but God had blessed him with a gift for interpreting dreams. He came to the attention of Pharaoh, who had dreamed of seven fat cows that were eaten by seven lean cows. Joseph told him what no one else could: seven years of plenty would be followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh made Joseph Viceroy over all Egypt, charged with collecting grain in the years of plenty, to be stored against the years of famine.
Participant: When Jacob and his tribe could no longer find enough food in Canaan, he sent his sons down to Egypt to plead for sustenance. Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not know him. He tested them, and when they showed that their souls had grown, he revealed himself to them amid tears of joy. Soon, Jacob and all his people joined his sons in Egypt, and there our nation prospered and multiplied.
Participant: Few in number as it is said: “Our fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now, the Lord, our God, has made us as numerous as the stars of heaven.” And we became there a nation – this teaches that Israel was distinctive there, we did not lose our ways. Great, mighty, as it is said: “And the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, and multiplied and became very, very mighty, and the land became filled with us.”
Participant: We praise the Eternal who keeps faith with the children of Israel. God’s promise of Redemption in ancient days sustains us now. As we read in the Torah: “Know this for certain, that your descendents will be strangers in a strange land, and be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years. But know also that in the end I shall bring judgment on the oppressors, and your offspring will go forth with great prosperity.”
All raise their cups of wine, and say this with great joy:
Not once, nor twice, nor three times was our destruction planned, but in every generation they rise up to destroy us, yet the Holy One, Blessed be He, delivers us from their midst.
All replace their cups untasted.
Leader: Name something in your life that represents freedom for you and why.
One by one...
The Matzah is uncovered.
Group: Arami ovaid avi. My father was a wandering Aramean.
Participant: After Joseph’s generation died, there arose a new Pharaoh over Egypt. And he said to his people, “Look, the Israelites are increasing and growing mighty. Let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they become more powerful, and in war join our enemies and overwhelm us.”
Participant: So they set taskmasters over us with forced labor and made us build cities for Pharaoh; Pithom and Raamses. The Egyptians embittered our lives with hard labor. But the more we were oppressed, the more we increased and spread over the land, so that the Egyptians came to despise and dread us. Pharaoh charged his soldiers, saying, “Every male child that is born among the Israelites shall be thrown into the Nile.” And we cried out to the Lord, God of our ancestors.
Participant: God heard our cry and remembered the covenant that was made with our mothers and fathers. And God said, “I will go through the land of Egypt...and I will mete out justice against all the gods of Egypt.”
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