Question: It is said that during the festive dinner in honor of the commencement of Passover we have to tell our children about the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. What exactly should we tell them? What’s the most important thing they should know?
Answer: First of all, I don’t think that there is a difference between the adults and children. It is said, “Tell your son,” meaning each one who doesn’t know these things and wants to learn them is like a son to us.
Everybody should figure out what “exodus” means and how it is different from liberation. We should know whether we are still in the state of an exile and continue to seek redemption.
Exile is a state that is opposite to redemption. They stand for two opposite internal sensations; so far, we are unable to define either of those states in us.
Speaking of Egypt… Was it so bad for the Jews? At first, they enjoyed an abundance of food and led a “kings’ life.” The Pharaoh treated them very well, it was a real paradise. Why all of a sudden were seven years of satiation replaced by seven years of famine and the Jews acknowledged that they are in the exile?
People lost the purpose of life. One stopped understanding why one lives. Today, very many people can make the same confession: “I don’t know why I live. It poisons my life to the extent that I don’t want to stay alive.”
People choose to become terrorists out of despair, in search of the Light in their lives. They seek an ideal that is worth living for. Fighting with things that don’t match their ideals makes them feel that they are heroes conquering enemies. This sensation makes their lives purposeful; otherwise they feel dead.
Nowadays, many people are concerned with finding the purpose in life. With no vital goal, our existence loses taste and even death looks better to us than this kind of life. Abundance of Egyptian meat and garlic do not satisfy any more.
Egypt met every kind of human desires: food, sex, family, money, power, and knowledge. It was a paradise for everybody, and the Jews were the most respectable and rich out of all the Egyptian population. So, what did they lack? Only the purpose of life. When this kind of question wakes up in a person it poisons the very sensation of living. We feel that we live in a golden cage and are unable to get out of it.
This is what is called “slavery.” Our prosperous life suffocates and kills us. If our existence were not as “satiated” it would justify our desire to run away from it. However, our egoism doesn’t allow us to reject comfortable existence.
Our ego receives pleasure from Egyptian life. At the same time, we are driven by a question: “Why do we live? Are we people or just animals?” This is what is going on in the world nowadays.
We can provide everything we need to live a good life, but everything we have is soaked with bitterness. The question about the essence of life is far more important than regular material benefits. It throws us from the top of the mountain into the abyss, thus making us acknowledge our total obscurity.
It’s very common in the modern world and particularly among younger generations. We start sensing that we are in the exile, in our egoism that keeps us under its rule and doesn’t let us go. This state is called “Egyptian slavery.” We must free ourselves from it.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 3/31/15