Pictures Tell: The Passover Haggadah In Every Generation

Created in partnership with Zion Ozeri and Josh Feinberg

Holocaust survivor, Buenos Aires, Argentina © Zion Ozeri

בְּכָל־דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר, בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה ה' לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרַיִם. לֹא אֶת־אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בִּלְבָד גָּאַל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, אֶלָּא אַף אוֹתָנוּ גָּאַל עִמָּהֶם...

In each and every generation, a person is obligated to see himself as if he left Egypt, as it is stated (Exodus 13:8); "And you shall explain to your son on that day: It is on account of that which the Lord did for me in my going out of Egypt." It was not only our ancestors that the Holy One, blessed be He, redeemed; rather, he redeemed us along with them...

For Discussion:

  • What can you tell about the relationship among the four individuals pictured in the photograph? How do you think they feel about each other? How does the photographer emphasize this dynamic?

  • The man in the picture is a survivor of the Holocaust. How does that affect your understanding or interpretation of the photograph?

  • The Haggadah text tells us to see ourselves as if we left Egypt. How can we picture ourselves as a part of past events? What can help us see ourselves that way?

  • Why is it important to pass down stories, traditions, and rituals from one generation to the next?

For Further Reflection:

  • The story of leaving behind Egyptian enslavement and becoming an independent nation is core to Jewish identity. According to the Torah, this national experience is seared into our subconscious as a people; we know what it is to be a stranger, and therefore we are not allowed to act inhumanely towards outsiders among us. What actions does this story inspire in you? How might you hold on to the memory of slavery that is part of Jewish identity?

  • The idea that each new generation was somehow spiritually present at a past event is also a part of rabbinic conversations about the revelation at Sinai. In the Torah, Moses says that the covenant made at Sinai applies to those who were present on that day, as well as those who were not. The Midrash, an early rabbinic reading of this source, says this means that even Jews who were not yet born were somehow present and included in the covenant. You can read both of these texts here. What moments in Jewish history feel like they have made an impression on your life, even if you were not physically present?

Tell Your Own Story:

Take a picture with this question in mind: What stories from the past resonate most with you in your everyday life? How do you see yourself continuing a journey or pursuing an idea or struggle that was started by those who came before you? After you take your photo, give it a caption. You can find some helpful photography tips here.