Do you want to be moved?
In every generation, one must see oneself as if one had personally experienced the Exodus from Egypt. As it is written: “You shall speak to your children on that day, saying, this is how the Holy Blessed One redeemed me from Egypt.
Isn’t it puzzling that despite the horrors and hardship of slavery, the children of Israel weren’t eager to leave Egypt?
Despite Moses’ best efforts to ignite them with the notions of redemption and freedom, the Promised Land and a life of aspirations, leaving Egypt wasn’t an easy sell.
We tend to embrace what we know even when that implies the disconcerting fact that we would choose the bitter taste of oppression over the unknown flavor of freedom.
This is why faith and hope aren’t merely abstract notions but rather the fuel that can ignite the motion toward transformative change. But let’s not forget that in order for this to happen we need to want to be moved!
B’chol dor vador , the idea that in every generation we shall see ourselves like we ourselves came out from Egypt, is in a way reflective of the desire to be moved. Our tradition pushes us to move, to observe from a “different” perspective (ma nishtana- why is this different) and to ask questions!
We ask in order to challenge our confirmation bias while aiming to nurture inquisitiveness. Passover isn’t the celebration of a historical exodus but rather the recollection of a memory that invites (pushes!) us to become freedom seekers. We defy the captivity of our own ignorance and obliviousness and so, we seek for deeper understanding, and so we question here – today!
“Understanding is always more than merely re-creating someone else’s meaning. Questioning opens up possibilities of meaning, and thus what is meaningful passes into one’s own thinking on the subject. Only in an inauthentic sense can we talk about understanding questions that one does not pose oneself—e.g., questions that are outdated or empty… To understand a question means to ask it. To understand meaning is to understand it as the answer to a question… (H.G. Gadamer, Truth and Method _1960)
The commandment to see ourselves as if we ourselves came out from Egypt makes Passover an inquiry to conduct a dialogue with the reality of our lives.
“To reach an understanding in a dialogue is not merely a matter of putting oneself forward and successfully asserting one’s own point of view, but being transformed into a communion in which we do not remain what we were”. (H.G. Gadamer, Truth and Method _1960)
“Being transformed into a communion in which we do not remain what we were”
In every generation we will ask to be moved,
We will evoke the memory of the exodus and dare to ask about where we are today. We will ask about our own stories and seek for deeper understanding. We will repeat old questions and formulate new ones. We will defy our lack of inquisitiveness and tendency to stagnate.
This year we will hold the Haggadah and recognize it for what it is: an invitation to personal transformation, a song of redemption, the memory of what it was and a taste of what it could be.
The question remains: Do you want to be moved?
Wishing you a meaningful Passover / Chag Sameach
Rabbi Nico Socolovsky