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My Dvar Torah for Seder Night – Please share your opinions.

In each and every generation, a person is obligated to see himself as if he left Egypt, as it is stated (Exodus 13:8); “For the sake of this, did the Lord do [this] for me in my going out of Egypt.” Not only our ancestors did the Holy One, blessed be He, redeem, but rather also us [together] with them did he redeem, as it is stated (Deuteronomy 6:23); “And He took us out from there, in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He swore unto our fathers.”

Therefore we are obligated to thank, praise, laud, glorify, exalt, lavish, bless, raise high, and acclaim He who made all these miracles for our ancestors and for us: He brought us out from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to joy, from mourning to [celebration of] a festival, from darkness to great light, and from servitude to redemption. And let us say a new song before Him, Halleluyah!

These two paragraphs, are, in my eyes, the most important part of Maggid, the part in the Haggadah where we tell the story of how our people left Egypt, which is the main goal of Seder Night. Seder Night is the most significant part of Passover, and Passover is the very core of Judaism. So, what I’m trying to claim is that these very two are the fundaments of Jewish life.

We see in the first part the generational moving of tradition. The Halakha, the gathering of all Jewish customs, traditions and rules is based off these generational transitions. What a father teaches his son, what a mother teaches her daughter, and what their ancestors taught them, in every single house, for the last 2000 years, is Judaism. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the Rabbis say they learned in the Ivory Towers called Yeshivas, what matters is what Jews all around the world do in every day life. The Halakha, the real Halakha is what the JEWS do, and then the rabbis adapt what they learn to the reality. If we look quickly at the history of Halakha we will see that first the Tanaiim wrote down what people did in their everyday lives, then the set up rules of how to create new rules for new situations, and then the public either accepted the new rulings and that is what Jews decided to do from now on forward, or they didn’t accept it and the rabbis had to rethink their rulings. It was a dialectical game played between the two parties.

In the second paragraph we see that the tradition, that has kept us not only physically alive, but also culturally the only ancient people left, is what we need to thank our god for. For letting us out of Egypt, but also for the chance to hear the same stories Jews have lived on for centuries. The paragraph not only tells us who to thank, praise, laud, glorify, exalt, lavish, bless, raise high, and acclaim, but also, and most importantly: WHY. Why do we thank the god for the tradition, what Is the point of the whole system: well it says it here: He brought us out from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to joy, from mourning to [celebration of] a festival, from darkness to great light, and from servitude to redemption, and is continuing to bring us, in many ways, shapes and forms.

Chag Sameach!

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