These questions are important. But before I answer them, let me tell you the story of Jewish hope.

Our ancestors lived in the land of Israel. But their children have wandered the earth to look for freedom and dignity. Our roots are in Israel. But our branches travel the surface of the globe.

Some of our ancestors traveled to Egypt. It was a time of famine and they were hungry. The king of Egypt welcomed them and gave them food and shelter. In later years, an unfriendly king became the Pharaoh of Egypt. He made them slaves and burdened them with heavy work. But they resisted despair. Choosing hope, they fled from Egypt. They returned to Israel and created a free nation. Passover celebrates their will to live.

Our ancestors also traveled to America. The rulers of Europe were often cruel and hateful to the Jews. They drove them from land to land and filled their lives with terror. Our mothers and fathers did not despair. Having heard of a free land across the sea, they pursued their dream. They endured the danger of long voyages and unknown places before they reached their destination. Their exodus from persecution was an epic drama. Never before in the history of our people had so many traveled so far to find liberty. Because of their foresight, we are here tonight to celebrate our freedom in a free land.

We cannot forget the bold rebirth of the state of Israel. What began as a vision of dreamers became a reality of practical men and women. Some came to avoid hatred. Others came to build love and unity. They traveled from the four corners of the earth seeking what no other land could give them; the power of roots and the dignity of belonging.

The search for freedom is also the will to live. The exodus from Egypt is one of many victories. In every century we have chosen to survive. Passover celebrates this undying resolution that unites our past with our present and our present with our future.

haggadah Section: Maggid - Beginning
Source: Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine