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University of Colorado Boulder Program in Jewish Studies

This Passover We Need to Journey Out of Our Own Egypt

One of the main points of the Seder is to feel as if we are actually going out of Egypt on the night of Passover.

As the Haggadah says, “In every generation, a person is obligated to feel like he himself went out of Egypt.”

There are various explanations of how we can accomplish this feeling. One of them is to contemplate on that which the Haggadah says that if G-d would have not taken us out of Egypt we would still be slaves, Egypt was so powerful that no human being could conquer it.

The Maharal of Prague gives yet a deeper explanation that after G-d took us out of Egypt, it is not possible for a Jew to truly be a slave again. The reason for this is that the essence of a Jew always remains free since it is connected to G-d.

In Chassidic philosophy, it says that every year on Passover, each one of us is freed once again from his or her physical and spiritual restraints.

We can see a reference to this in the first verse of the Haggadah which says this is the bread of affliction that our forefathers ate in Egypt. The question is, does this matzah really come from Egypt? The Haggadah should have been more precise and said this is the type of bread our ancestors ate in Egypt. The Lubavitcher Rebbe says that the Haggadah is hinting to the fact that we are currently at the seder going out of Egypt and thus the matzah which was baked before Passover, actually comes from our own personal Egypt.

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About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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