This night is different because during the Seder we relive the Exodus. We eat matzah on Passover in memory of our ancestors who had no time to bake leavened bread when they fled from Egypt.
We eat bitter herbs to remember the bitterness of their lives when they were slaves.
We dip parsley in salt water to symbolize the tears of our ancestors in slavery. We will also dip bitter herbs in sweet charoses, representing the mortar our ancestors mixed as Pharoah's slaves. This reminds us that our people were able to withstand the bitterness of slavery because it was sweetened by the hope of freedon.
We recline tonight because in ancient times, reclining at the table was the sign of a free person. Since this is the night our slavery ended, we recline to remind ourselves that we are free.
ּעֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ הָיִינו. עַתָּה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין
Avadim hayinu hayinu. Ata b’nei chorin.
We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. Now we are free.
We were slaves of Pharoah in Egypt, but the Lord our God brough us out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. If God had not brought our ancestors out from Egypt, then even we, our children, and our children's children might still be slaves to Pharoah in Egypt.
Therefore, even if we were all wise, all people of deep understanding, and even if we were expereinced in the ways of the world and well learned in the Torah, it would still be our responsibility to tell the story of our departure from Egypt. And whoever expands upon the story of the Exodus from Egypt is worthy of priase.
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