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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Dr. Benji Levy

Important points you can share at your Seder

The Passover Seder is the most celebrated Jewish ritual across the globe. It provides a multi-sensory journey back in time in the here and now. As you venture from slavery to freedom, you connect across the generations.

Here are 7 important important points from the Passover Haggadah to consider.

1. Great things can start with difficulty.

Beginnings are often tough. But if you work at them, you can achieve greatness. The Haggadah begins with humble beginnings through 210 years of slavery and crescendos with the glory of freedom (Pesachim 10:4). Through reliving the hardships, savor the freedom and appreciate the journey.

2. Prayer is important, but it’s not enough.

When the Jewish people are stuck with a sea in front of them and a hostile army behind them, Moses prays to the Heavens. God says enough and calls on him to act (Deut. 3:26). It’s not enough to just rely on God to make things happen. He made you His partner. You are responsible to take your destiny into your own hands and be part of the solution.

3. There is always something to say thank you for.

A key song in the Haggadah, “Dayeinu” means it would have sufficed. Recounting individual steps along the way to redemption, pause to recognize how crucial each step was. Each longer journey contains many different destinations and you need to celebrate the small wins along the way.

4. Live with history.

The goal of Passover is to relive the experience of leaving Egypt, moving from an intellectual awareness to visceral memory (Mishna Torah 7:6). You taste the bread of affliction, the bitter herbs of hardships and dip the hard-boiled egg of mourning into the tears of saltwater. The spiritual force of freedom is accessible at this time, just as it was for the Jews in Egypt. Don’t just remember; inculcate it.

5. Exercise empathy.

The Haggadah reminds us that “you shall not detest an Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land” (Deut. 23:8). It’s easy to forget those with difficulties when you don’t have them. But the birth as a nation began in strife so that you won’t neglect those in strife – even those responsible for causing that strife.

6. Continue the story.

Passover is centered around the Haggadah, fulfilling the biblical commandment to you’re your children the Exodus story (Exodus, 13:8). A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. You are where you are today because of those that came before you and the only way this odyssey will continue is if you inspire the next generation. In continuing the story of those that came before you, the story of your people continues.

7. Everyone has a seat at the table

The Haggadah speaks of four children sitting at the table – the wise son, the wicked son, the simple son and the one who doesn’t know how to ask. Each child is called “one”. Perhaps the word “one” is stated for each child in order to emphasize that each one is of equal value, of equal importance. And having all four at the table together, being part of the discussion and sharing the same past emphasizes the fact that we stay together despite – and perhaps because of – their differences.

We are all part of one family.

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