As the Festival of Pesach-Passover approaches, it behooves us to begin contemplating the many important life-lessons which we learn from the story of the Exodus and the words of our Sages regarding the Holiday.
In the Haggadah we are told, “In every generation a person is obligated to envision himself as if he himself left Egypt!” This is puzzling on many levels. How can one be told to visualize himself experiencing an event which in truth he did not experience?!
There are various approaches to answer this difficulty. One explanation is that just as at Mt. Sinai tradition tells us that all souls, even the unborn ones were present at that momentous occasion, so too, at the Exodus we were all present. This means that we were all freed from servitude to flesh-and-blood masters and instead were bestowed with the privilege of serving Hashem.
Another explanation may be that the Sages are telling us that when Hashem freed the Jews from being enslaved to the Egyptians, He had in mind all future generations as well! Every one of us was part of the reason Hashem performed those amazing mircles! As it states in the Haggadah, “Not only our forefathers did Hashem redeem from Egypt, rather us as well.”
Finally, the Hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzrayim which can also be read as Metzarim-straits or boundaries. Each of us in our personal lives have tough situations or negative impulses which we are convinced that it’s impossible for us to become unchained and freed from them. We must realize that in every generation Hashem is willing and able to free us from these self-imposed boundaries the same way over 3000 years ago he freed us from both spiritual and physical servitude to the Egyptians. As the Rabbis explained, every Holiday is not merely a commemoration of what transpired many years ago, rather there is a spiritual energy that allows us to relive those events in our present day and age!
By Rabbi Sharaga Thav