There is a principle that applies throughout the Torah: 'We only go up in holiness'. That is to say each subsequent level in a series is considered more holy, more ripe with potential for connection, than the last. The Rebbe of Lubavitch, for example, taught that the weekly Torah readings go up in holiness─Noah is more holy than Bereishit, but Lech L'cha is more holy than Noach.
The same is true of the Pesach Seder. The festive meal is not an afterthought, a bone thrown to us for having worked so hard through the first part of the Seder. The meal is the actualization-point of everything we have learned this evening.
In a sense, the meal is a sampling of how 'real life' will look tomorrow and next week. While it is somewhat simple to maintain focus and intention when eating matzah and maror, it is far more difficult when we are elbowing through the buffet, chowing down on brisket, and hoping there will be some charoset left over for lunch tomorrow.
And without the structured conversation of the Seder, what will we talk about? Should we continue to ask questions? Is everyone, or anyone, still open? How do people who are truly free speak when they eat? These are difficult questions. Let's confront them now.
Who wants to keep the conversation going? Who wants to relax for a while? Let's switch seats so people with similar aspirations can sit near each other.
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