I am always a bit amazed and awed by my own anxiety level before Passover. Because I am aware of what the Seder will demand, I must will myself to take the evening of story and song seriously. The luxuries and comforts of my home, and the freedoms that are mine, beckon far more realistically than the bitter maror. We have been raised in a culture that seeks pleasure and personal satisfaction. Pesach is asking me to rebel, if only briefly, from that world. But I take to heart the command of the Haggadah: "In every generation, each of us must reexperience personally the Exodus from Egypt." So here we are again, the sun is setting, the candles are being lit, the table has all the proper ritual items, and I do not know if I and those with whom I am sharing this encounter have the strength to taste the grip of slavery and feel the thrill of liberation.
The Seder is not simply an obligation I must fill, but an extraordinary opportunity to be moved by a memory and re-energized to believe that the work I do may help complete the liberation initiated over three millennia ago. I want my voice to be more than the faint echo of generations past. In a world filled with commonness, I am elevated to kedusha - a place of unique sacredness - through my presence at this re-enactment. Here is an event that left no trace except through the memory of people. And because of their will to nurture and nourish this story of a journey from slavery to freedom, and our commitment to accept the gift of memory, the world is many steps closer to freedom and I, a warrior of human liberation.
Dr. David Elcott
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