IN ANOTHER'S SHOES

הגדה של פסח, מגיד, פסח מצה ומרור

בְּכָל-דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת-עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר, בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה יהוה לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרַיִם. לֹא אֶת-אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בִּלְבָד גָּאַל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, אֶלָּא אַף אוֹתָנוּ גָּאַל עִמָּהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְאוֹתָנוּ הוֹצִיא מִשָּׁם, לְמַעַן הָבִיא אוֹתָנוּ, לָתֶת לָנוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשָׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ.

 

From the Haggadah

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 HASHEM do [this] for me in my going out of Egypt." Not only our ancestors did the Holy One, blessed be God, redeem, but rather also us [together] with them did God redeem, as it is stated (Deuteronomy 6:23); "And God took us out from there, in order to bring us in, to give us the land which God swore unto our fathers."

  • Part of the text from the Haggadah is a quote from the תורה. What is the quote from תורה? Where is it from?

 

משנה תורה, הלכות חמץ ומצה ז׳:ו׳-ז׳

(ו) בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לְהַרְאוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא בְּעַצְמוֹ יָצָא עַתָּה מִשִּׁעְבּוּד מִצְרַיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ו-כג) "וְאוֹתָנוּ הוֹצִיא מִשָּׁם" וְגוֹ'. וְעַל דָּבָר זֶה צִוָּה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בַּתּוֹרָה וְזָכַרְתָּ כִּי עֶבֶד הָיִיתָ כְּלוֹמַר כְּאִלּוּ אַתָּה בְּעַצְמְךָ הָיִיתָ עֶבֶד וְיָצָאתָ לְחֵרוּת וְנִפְדֵּיתָ:

 

לְפִיכָךְ כְּשֶׁסּוֹעֵד אָדָם בַּלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה צָרִיךְ לֶאֱכל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת וְהוּא מֵסֵב דֶּרֶךְ חֵרוּת. וְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד בֵּין אֲנָשִׁים בֵּין נָשִׁים חַיָּב לִשְׁתּוֹת בַּלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה אַרְבָּעָה כּוֹסוֹת שֶׁל יַיִן. אֵין פּוֹחֲתִין לוֹ מֵהֶם. וַאֲפִלּוּ עָנִי הַמִּתְפַּרְנֵס מִן הַצְּדָקָה לֹא יִפְחֲתוּ לוֹ מֵאַרְבָּעָה כּוֹסוֹת. שִׁעוּר כָּל כּוֹס מֵהֶן רְבִיעִית:

 

Mishneh Torah, Leavened and Unleavened Bread 7:6-7

In each and every generation, a man is obligated to show himself as though he himself went out now from the slavery of Egypt as it is said (Deuteronomy 6:23) "And God took us out of there, etc." and on account of this thing, the Holy One, blessed be God, commanded in the Torah "And you shall remember that you were a slave," that is to say as though you yourself were a slave and you went out to freedom and you were redeemed.

 

Therefore, when a man has his meal on this night, he must eat and drink while reclining in a manner of freedom. And each and every man and woman is obligated to drink on this night four cups of wine. You can't have less than that. And even a poor person who is provided for with tzedakah can't have less than four cups. And the measure of each of these cups is a r'vi'it.

  • Part of the text from the Mishneh Torah is a quote from the תורה. What is the quote from תורה? Where is it from?

  • How are the selection from the Haggadah and the selection from the Mishneh Torah different?

  • What is the difference between seeing ourselves as having gone through a certain experience and showing ourselves that way?

Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik, Festival of Freedom: Essays on Pesach and the Haggadah

The standard text reads, “In each generation, one is duty-bound lirot et atzmo, to consider himself, as if he had been delivered from Egyptian bondage.” Instead of the reflexive verb lirot et atzmo, signifying an inner experience, Maimonides substitutes the verb, l’harot et atzmo, to demonstrate, to behave in a manner manifesting the experience of finding liberty after having been enslaved for a long time.

Renowned author Jonathan Safran-Foer wrote these powerful words in the introduction to his magnificent New American Haggadah: “We are not merely telling a story here. We are being called to a radical act of empathy. Here we are, embarking on an ancient, perennial attempt to give human life – our lives – dignity.”

 

  • What would be a radical act of empathy in relation to these teachings from the Haggadah and the Mishneh Torah?

  • How might these acts of radical empathy give our lives “dignity”?

Leonard Fine, the founder of Mazon, wrote, “What can these words (from the Haggadah) mean? We are slaves because today there are still people in chains around the world and no one can truly be free while others are in chains. Where there is poverty and hunger and homelessness, there is no freedom. Where there is prejudice and bigotry and discrimination, there is no freedom; where there is violence, torture and war, there is no freedom. And where each of us is less than he or she might be, we are not free, not yet.”

 

  • How does Leonard Fine understand the teachings from these two texts?

© 2016 by Rabbi David Paskin

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