It’s Passover again – already??? For many people, Passover is a time to come together as a family (be it close family, extended family, or even the “Hillel Family”), read through the Hagadah telling the story of our exodus from Egypt, eat some matzah, bitter herbs, try to make it through four cups of wine, and for the steadfast, conclude the evening with some traditional songs.
Probably like last year.
And the year before that.
And the one before that, too.
The same thing year after year can accustom a person to the evening to the point where going through motions can be an enjoyable, but all too often a spiritually vacuous experience. But if that’s the case, it means we’re doing it wrong!
In the middle of the Hagadah we read at the Seder we are implored “to see ourselves as though we personally are leaving Egypt”. There certainly still exists literal, physical slavery throughout the world in the form of child soldiers, human trafficking, and, well, slavery! But most of us, thank God, are not personally experiencing such forms of slavery. But slavery exists in other forms as well. We can become enslaved to our jobs, our ego, our past decisions, our smartphones, fashion, society, and so much more!
The Seder is a time for introspection – we are all meant to ask ourselves “how am I enslaved – today?!” And we spend the evening breaking through our slavery. We eat the matzah to remind us that we need to free ourselves today. We experience an evening of reclining and drinking wine – the conduct of royalty – in order to show ourselves and the world that we can be truly free!
The Seder is not simply a commemoration of a historical event; it is an opportunity to relive that emancipation every year and to draw freedom into our own lives as we connect with those closest to us!