Ensuring our Freedom

March 30, 2015 at 3:01 AM , ,

“…If the Holy One, blessed be He, had not taken our fathers out of Egypt, then we, our children, and our children’s children would have remained enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt…” – The Haggadah

וְאִלּוּ לֹא הוֹצִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם, הֲרֵי אָנוּ וּבָנֵינוּ וּבְנֵי בָנֵינוּ מְשֻׁעְבָּדִים הָיִינוּ לְפַרְעֹה בְּמִצְרָיִם – הגדה של פסח

We acknowledge in the Haggadah that if not for G-d’s miraculous redemption of Bnei Yisrael some 3,000 years ago, we would still be slaves to Pharaoh today.Hence, in every generation, we can truly regard ourselves as though we were the ones redeemed from Egypt—the theme of the Seder.

The Haggadah notes further, however, that our children too, as well as their children, would also be slaves in Egypt if G-d had not redeemed our ancestors. While it is true that the redemption from Egypt granted freedom for our progeny as it granted for us, yet why is it necessary for us to acknowledge this at the Seder? Evidently, in order to experience our own freedom, we must be aware of our children and grandchildren’s freedom as well.

This is because the freedom that we are celebrating is not only our release from physical bondage, but also our spiritual liberation—the ability that the Torah gives us to cleave to the Infinite G-d, and to transcend the shackles of a base material existence. In the words of the Mishna (Avos 6:2), “There is no free person, except for he who occupies himself with the study of Torah.”

The Haggadah therefore adds that to celebrate our Redemption we must be certain of the freedom of our children and grandchildren. For the only free man is one who has imparted his appreciation for Torah study and his excitement in its observance to his children, and in a manner that they too will imbue the same passion in theirs. For then you can be certain that the spiritual liberation achieved through Torah will endure amongst your offspring forever. As the Talmud teaches, “He who is himself a talmid chacham (Torah scholar), and his son a talmid chacham, and his son’s son too is a talmid chacham, the Torah will nevermore cease from his seed” (Bava Metzia 85a).

—Sichos Kodesh 5736 vol. 2, p. 99

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