Remembering the Exodus Every Day

Chag HaPesach is also called  Chag Hageulah – The Festival of Salvation, and Chag Hacheirut – The Festival of Liberation. Our ancestors were released from  Egyptian bondage to freedom and from  physical labor to spiritual  liberty.

For that reason, every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to remember the day of our liberation  from Egypt all the days of his life (based on Devarim 16:3). This applies even though he himself was not there,  for,  had our  fathers  remained  in  Egypt, we would  still  be in bondage. Our ancestors’  redemption  from  Egypt means that  we are spared the travails of being there.

This commandment raises several questions:

Why  did  the  Torah  command  us to  remember  Yetziat  Mitzrayim every day, instead of a few times throughout the year, as we do on the other holidays?

Why do we remember Yetziat Mitzrayim on every holiday? What’s the connection between the Exodus and the Yamim Tovim?

How  can  we  compare  our  state  of  freedom  and  liberty   to  the situation  of our ancestors, enslaved in a foreign land?

 “It  is a night  of anticipation for  Hashem; a protection for  all  the Children  of Israel for their  generations”  (Shemot 12:42). The night  of Pesach was not  a night  of  protection only  in  Egypt, but  for  every generation.

However, this is only on condition  that a person awakens himself to feel the  slavery  of our  people  in  those  days. He can truly  feel the freedom if he puts himself in their  place, enslaved to foreign taskmasters.  As a slave he would  not  be able to  keep Torah  and mitzvot  at all. Only upon liberation  does he become a free man, able to develop a relationship  with Hashem. By contemplating these things, he brings himself to appreciate the liberation  from Mitzrayim.

But if one does not feel the slavery and all of its accompanying hardships, always seeing himself as a free man, what type of freedom will he experience on Pesach?

Therefore, we should make appropriate  preparations  before the holiday. We should put ourselves into the mindset of slaves, in order that  we may feel the freedom. Even great tzaddikim  are enjoined to make this type of preparation.  The appreciation  of freedom is aroused within  a person only after he prepares himself as he should. One who does not do so will become even more enslaved and will not merit true freedom.

How  does  one  prepare  himself  for  true  freedom?  It  is  through exerting himself to the utmost before the festival. Through cleaning his house from any trace of chametz, he feels a real sense of servitude and drudgery.  When  Pesach finally  arrives,  he  experiences  the  liberty which comes in the aftermath of hard physical and emotional labor.

Through  emunah in the miracles of Pesach, he remembers Yetziat Mitzrayim. And even though he himself was not there, his mazal took part in it, rendering him a person who left Mitzrayim.

Before Pesach, a person  prepares  himself  to  feel the  slavery.  On Pesach, he feels the freedom from bondage. And after the holiday, the impression  made by the Exodus from Egypt should remain with  him. Without  preparing  oneself, he is unable to appreciate the miracle of our Exodus, lacking a basic tenet in our belief in Hashem.

How, indeed, can a free man feel as though  he were enslaved and was now emancipated? He knows he was never in bondage. Is he meant to fool himself into thinking he was once a slave and now became free?

One who  is a true  servant  of Hashem constantly  examines those things which could hinder his Avodat Hashem. This, in essence, is the miracle of Pesach. We must realize that  we were slaves to  Pharaoh Harasha, the embodiment  of the Yetzer Hara, and then  became free from his control  and subject to the authority of Hashem. After being set free, we were able to serve Hashem, something denied to us during our years in Egypt.

But one who views himself as a free man, never experiencing this feeling of kedushah, is unable to fulfill  the injunction of Chazal that “in every generation, a person is obligated to see himself as though he left Egypt.”

The author  of the sefer Ma’archei Lev writes,  “One who views the time of Mashiach superficially, sees only that each person will sit under his grape vine and fig tree (an allusion to physical comforts)  (based on Michah 4:4). But the truth  is that the period of Mashiach will be a time of living on a spiritual  plane.”

The  Ramchal  states  that   the  tzaddik   in  galut  lives  as  though Mashiach has already arrived. How is this? Just as in the times of Mashiach, all will live spiritually, likewise, the tzaddik lives his life on a spiritual  level even in these days of exile.

With this in mind, we can say that by means of the physical labor which  a person does in order to eradicate chametz, he can relate to the harsh conditions  our forefathers experienced in Egypt. In order to savor the freedom, one must put himself through the exile. Only in this way can he truly  appreciate becoming a free man!

How do we experience this feeling of complete servitude? The Gra states that wherever the word “obligated”  is used, it refers to a literal obligation.  The  obligation   here  refers  to  searching  out  every  last morsel of chametz in every crack and crevice. When one searches on his hands and knees to find  every forgotten  crumb  of chametz, one truly  feels like an indigent  slave. Only afterward,  at the Seder table, where he sits like a king, does he feel a real sense of freedom.

Based  on  this,   we  can  answer  our   previous   questions.   It   is specifically on Pesach that Hashem commands us to remember Yetziat Mitzrayim all the days of our lives. This is so that one should feel the slavery  and  the  freedom  every  day,  and  constantly   connect  with Hashem.

Thus, all of the holidays are related to Yetziat Mitzrayim, for we are commanded to remember the Exodus from Egypt every day of the year.

Above all, this is the connection between those days and today. For, although  we  are  free  people,  we  must  constantly   remember  the bondage of our  fathers in Egypt, so that  we might  feel the freedom every moment  of our  lives. In this  manner, we will  merit  the future

geulah, may it come speedily in our days, Amen.



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