Mar 16, 2023
The Obligation to Reexperience the Exodus, by Rav Yitzchak Etshalom
What is the source for the obligation to reimagine ourselves as having personally participated in the Exodus?
The Mishna (Pesachim 10:5) establishes the obligation - in every generation - for a person to view himself (or, per Rambam's nuanced wording, "to show himself") as if he was personally part of the Exodus. It is not at all clear, however, that this passage is part of the original Mishna. In addition to this possible addendum to the Mishna, our Haggadot add a second passage afterwards - "It is not only our ancestors whom God took out, rather He took us out with them". Each of these statements is followed by its own distinct prooftext. We explore the obligation, the difference between the two statements and how each prooftext supports a unique perspective on multi-generational participation and presence in that great foundational event.