Once Upon a Time...

The story of Passover is a story of miracles, of redemption, and of the mighty power of G-d to overcome evil. The L-rd had promised the land of Israel to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But their children were in Egypt, enslaved by a Pharaoh who had feared that these numerous foreigners would join with his enemies and turn against him! His solution was to control them by imposing harsh and bitter slavery upon them. Still, G-d blessed His people in strength and number.

Pharaoh grew more frightened and ordered every Israelite baby boy to be drowned in the Nile River. One Israelite couple hid their little boy for three months until finally, entrusting his future to G-d, they set him in a basket and placed him on the river. His sister, Miriam, watched as he floated away downstream. Finding the basket, Pharaoh's daughter took pity on the child and chose to raise him as her own son. She called him “Moshe”, meaning, "drawn out” from the water.

Moshe grew up and became aware of the anguished slavery of his people. One day, in a rage, he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. Fleeing the palace and the eye of Pharaoh, Moshe found refuge in the land of Midian, far from the cries of his suffering brothers, finding employment as a shepherd.

Adonai saw the affliction of the children of Israel and heard their groaning. He remembered his promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and raised up a deliverer to lead them out of bondage. It was then that he appeared to Moshe in the midst of a thorn bush that burned with fire, yet was not consumed. Moshe drew close and listened as G-d commissioned him to go to Pharaoh.

Fearful and reluctant still, Moshe agreed to bring G-d's message to the king of Egypt, "Let My people go!"

Pharaoh resisted Moshe's message, as G-d had forewarned him. G-d sent plagues upon the very objects the Egyptians worshiped, yet Pharaoh would not relent until the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn.

haggadah Section: -- Exodus Story