Pesach – Relating the Story

 

By Avner Friedmann

It is an important mitzvah to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt on the night of Passover. The Haggadah states that “In every generation, a person is obligated to view himself as if he personally came out of Egypt”, as the Torah states,[1] “And you shall tell your child on that day saying, ‘It is because of this that HaShem acted on my behalf when I came out of Egypt.”

The Holy Zohar[2] tells us that on Pesach night every Jew is obligated to praise Hashem and tell the world about this wondrous event. If a Jew relates the story of the Exodus with true joy, he awakens a response of joy above. By recalling the miracles of the Exodus, he helps bring down the same spiritual lights that illuminated that night in Egypt. This is why the Haggadah is a story-“Sipoor” (סיפור), which shares the same root as “Sapphire” (ספיר), which means something that shines.

We are not alone on the night of Pesach. When we relate the story of Pesach HaShem gathers His angels and tells them, “Go down and listen to the praises My people tell about the redemption I wrought for them”. When these angels behold Jewish families all over the world gathered around the Seder table, celebrating and praising HaShem, they too join in and joyfully praise the miraculous redemption and all the great deeds that HaShem performed on behalf of the children of Israel, thanking Him for having such a holy nation upon the earth.

The Holy Zohar states that through Jews telling the story below, it is as if HaShem gathers strength above. This is similar to a king who gets strength and encouragement when his subjects praise and thank him.

The more a Jew tells about the Exodus and the wonders of HaShem, the more this refines and elevates him (משובח), as the Haggadah states: “The more one tells the story of the exodus from Egypt, the more praiseworthy he is’ (משובח).[3]

The Holy Zohar states that just like we have the obligation to tell about all the miracles HaShem performed for us as a nation, so too, each person should publicize and thank HaShem for the private miracles that have happen to him. One could ask, “But HaShem already knows about all His miracles and everything else which occurs in the world. Why is this so important?” The answer is that when a person praises HaShem, the praises rise above to the spiritual realm and allow the angels to behold the miracle and join with the person in praising HaShem. As a result, HaShem’s honor is magnified throughout all the worlds, above and below. And as is the case with Passover, the same lights which appeared at the time of the actual miracle, shine once more.

The Ramban (Nachmanides)[4] wrote that the reason for mitzvot in general, is to know that HaShem is our Creator, thank Him for creating us, and publicize this. This is HaShem’s desire, as the prophet states[5]: “This people which I fashioned for Myself that they might declare My Praise”. The Holy Zohar states that if a Jew makes an effort to rejoice with his Maker, he will be rewarded by experiencing the greatest joy of being in the Divine Presence (The Shechinah) in the “World to Come”.

May the entire world join with praises and rejoicing with the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach, speedily in our days, Amen

 

[1] Parashat Bo 13:8.

[2] Bo 40b.

[3] Rav Yonatan Eyebeschuetz in Tsfichat Hadvash, Drasha on Shabbat Hagadol

[4] Nachmanides, End of Bo.

[5] Isaiah 43:21

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