Maggid - Storyteller

Haggadah Section: -- Exodus Story

[Take turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines - or to pass.]

These questions are a central part of tonight's seder ceremony.
Yet before we answer them, let us tell a story of Jewish hope.
The tale of our people's first quest for freedom
from slavery in Egypt was written so long ago
that no one knows how much of it is fact and how much is fiction.
Like all good stories, however, its moral lessons are valid and important.

It is written that long ago, during a time of famine,
the ancient Israelites traveled to Egypt.
According to this legend, the Israelites at that time were all in a single family -
Jacob and his children.

One of Jacob's sons was Joseph.
He was so wise that the ruler of Egypt - the Pharaoh -
made Joseph a leader over all the people of Egypt.

But as time passed, another Pharaoh became the ruler of Egypt.
He did not remember about Joseph and his wise leadership.
This new Pharaoh turned the Israelites into slaves,
and burdened them with heavy work and sorrow.

After the Israelites were in Egypt for over 400 years, a man arose among them.
He demanded that Pharaoh let his people go!
Many times he risked his life to insist on the freedom of his people,
until he finally succeeded.

At our Passover Seder, we celebrate the story of Moses
and the people he led out of slavery 3000 years ago.
We celebrate the struggle of all people to be free.
Throughout the centuries, the story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt
has inspired Jews and non-Jews in times of persecution and hardship.

Let us remember that the thirst for freedom exists in all people.
Many centuries after the legendary time of Moses,
African people were brought to America as slaves.
These slaves longed for freedom,
and they were inspired by the story of Moses and the ancient Israelites.

When the slaves in America sang "Go Down Moses,"
they were thinking of their own leaders who were working to end slavery.
Let us now sing that beautiful song.



When Israel was in Egypt land, Let my people go!
Oppressed so hard they could not stand, Let my people go!

Go down Moses,
Way down in Egypt land, Tell old Pharaoh
To let my people go.
When Moses took them from their toil, Let my people go!
He led them all to freedom's soil Let my people go!



[Take turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines - or to pass.]

The freedom we celebrate tonight is not only freedom from slavery.
It is also the freedom to live in peace,
with dignity and with hope for a bright future.
This constant vision has inspired the Jewish people
since the ancient times when the Bible was written.

For centuries, most Jews lived in Europe,
where they were often persecuted.
They were driven from place to place,
and their lives were often filled with terror and despair.

There came a time when many Jewish families learned of a place called America,
where people could live without fear.
This was the promise that America held out to them and to many other suffering people.

By the thousands, and then by the millions, year after year they crossed a large ocean.
Enduring separation from all they had known,
they faced the dangers of a long voyage before reaching the shores of America.

For a time, many suffered from poverty and disease.
Yet their courage, perseverance, and skills,
helped to advance the freedoms that we celebrate here tonight.

This evening, as we celebrate our own freedom
let us take notice of the on-going struggles toward freedom
here and in many other parts of the world.


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Passover Guide

Hosting your first Passover Seder? Not sure what food to serve? Curious to
know more about the holiday? Explore our Passover 101 Guide for answers
to all of your questions.

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