In Every Generation...

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְלָנוּ. שֶׁלֹּא אֶחָד בִּלְבָד עָמַד עָלֵינוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנוּ, אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר עוֹמְדִים עָלֵינוּ לְכַלוֹתֵנוּ,וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַצִּילֵנוּ מִיָּדָם.

And it is this that has stood for our ancestors and for us, since it is not [only] one [person or nation] that has stood [against] us to destroy us, but rather in each generation, they stand [against] us to destroy us, but the Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hand.

בְּכָל-דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת-עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר, בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה יקוק 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.

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

Rabbi Jonathan Sack's Haggadah

Not one Alone

One episode, told by a Rabbinical Colleague, has long lingered in my mind. It took place in Russia in the early 1990's, following the Collapse of Communism. For the first time in seventy years, Jews were free openly to live as Jews, but at the same time antisemitic attitudes, long suppressed, came to the surface. A British rabbi had gone to there to help with the reconstruction of Jewish life, and was one day visited by a young lady in distress. "All my life," she said, "I hid the fact that I was a Jew and no one ever commented on my Jewishness. Now, though, when I walk past, my neighbours mutter Zhid (Jew). What shall I do?" The rabbi replied, "If you had not told me you were Jewish, I would have never known. But with my hat and beard, no one could miss the fact that I am a Jew. Yet, in all the months I have been here, no one has shouted Zhid at me. Why do you think that is?" The girl was silent for a moment and then said, "Because they know that if they should Zhid at me, I will take it as an insult, but if they shout Zhid at you, you will take it as a compliment." That is a deep insight. Beyond eternal vigilance, the best way for Jews to combat antisemitism is to wear their identity with pride...

...When bad things happen to a person or group, there are two questions it can ask, "How can I put it right?" or "Who did this to me?" Asking the first defines me as a subject, a moral agent, a responsible self. Asking the second identifies me as an object, a victim; and a victim can feel only resentment and rage... for defining oneself as a victim-- (as) antisemites always do -- involves the systematic denial of responsibility...

...The culture of victimhood, so fashionable today, never liberates, but only perpetuates the condition of the victim...

(14th Century, Marseille)

(2) And it is that which has sustained our ancestors and us. How does God “keep His promise”?What is the Haggadah referring to when it says “And it is that”?
This is an explanation of the expression in the previous passage, “Blessed is He.” We bless God not only because He made a promise to us, but because He actively takes an interest in its fulfillment. This is what has sustained us from generation to generation. Even when others rose to destroy us, they could not destroy our sense of hope, which was a direct product of God’s interest in us. And even in exile, when we were seemingly cut off from God, that sense of hope sustained us in the face of overwhelming odds. The fact that God determined the end gave us reason to go on and survive. God’s promise to Abraham that in four hundred years He would redeem the Israelites from Egypt not only sustained his descendents but continues to sustain us as well.
Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi, the Ma’asei Hashem, understands this passage differently. The expression “And it is that which has sustained us,” refers to the statement that follows: “For in each generation they have risen against us but the Holy One has saved us from them.” What is it that has sustained us? The fact that God has allowed us to survive against overwhelming odds not by destroying those who hated us but simply by allowing us to remain alive. If God had used us to punish the other nations than it would have appeared that we were simply God’s means of punishment for others. The fact that we survived regardless of the other nations was a sign of God’s love rather than God’s anger. Israel’s survival is a sign of God’s love.