1. According to some of our commentators, our ancestors didn’t really have to go through the sea—they could have gone around the sea. Why did God specifically want us to go through the split sea?
2. The midrash tells us that the angels started singing praises to God when the Egyptians were being drowned in the sea. God told them to stop singing because it wasn’t right to sing while His creations were dying. Because of this midrash, we sing only part of the Hallel—the song of praise—all the week of Pesach after the first day. What are we expected to learn from the fact that such a Jewish miracle has such a universal theme?
3. The Pesach seder is our main time for passing our tradition on to our children. Many of our customs at the Pesach seder are practiced in order to keep the children awake and interested. So it would seem that the best time for the seder would be during the day. However, we make the seder at night, in order to be like the “seder” and the liberation in Egypt. Why is it so important to be like the original experience, when it weakens the main purpose of the seder—the education of the children?
4. Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kuk (1865-1935—Lithuania, Israel) tells us that matzah represents freedom and marror (bitter herbs) represents the limitation to freedom because of listening to God. They are eaten together in korech (the sandwich) and this reminds us of the holy Temple–our ideal. Why do we call Pesach the “festival of freedom” if our freedom is limited?
5. One of the commandments of Pesach night is to tell the story of the liberation from Egypt. The story is supposed to be told through questions and answers. That is why the story begins with “The 4 Questions”, and questioning is encouraged during the saying of the Haggadah. What does the question-and-answer format contribute to the evening and what does this rule (question-and-answer) tell us about Judaism and the Jews?
Through Pesach and especially through the matzah that one eats on Pesach night, one acquires an elevated state of mind, and realizes that God’s Light fills the whole world. However, in order to acquire this state of mind in a more permanent way, one has to pass through obstacles. These obstacles are symbolized by the maror—the bitters—that we eat at the Pesach seder. These obstacles could be from one’s surroundings or they could be from one’s own stubborn personality. However, God reduces the effect of these obstacles, and this is symbolized by dipping the marror into the charoset (mixture of nuts and honey). By passing through these obstacles, one comes to that elevated state of mind.
–R. Natan of Breslov (1780-1844) based on R. Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810)
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava—Eli Zucker
And this study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer