Meditation Plus Pesach 5776
1 א
בכל דור ודור חייב אדם לראות את עצמו כאילו הוא יצא ממצרים שנאמר (שמות יג, ח) והגדת לבנך ביום ההוא לאמר בעבור זה עשה ה' לי בצאתי ממצרים

In each and every generation one is obligated to see themselves as if they went out from Egypt, as it says (Sh'mot 13:8) And you shall tell you child on that day, saying: Because of this, YHVH did for me when I went out from Egypt.

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B'Chol Dor Vador: In Every Generation
From Lichvod Pesach: A Women's Community Seder Haggadah by Sylvia Schatz, Avi Z. Rosenzweig, Sherry Hahn, Rabbi Debra R. Hachen, Gloria Z. Greenfield, Temple Emunah, Lexington, MA

This sentence is a stumbling block for any woman who wishes to fully understand what it means to be "free" as a Jew. Jewish freedom means being able to respond as a mature practicing adult to any issues which arise in the Jewish community. How can a woman recite "atzmo""himself"—and still feel she is an adult decision-maker? If she does this, she has not yet gone out from slavery to freedom. She is still second class.

Freedom can only be gained by a woman when she herself becomes fully knowledgeable and fully capable of speaking and acting for herself. This means, whenever necessary, actively—not passively—extracting herself from Pharaoh's grip, in whatever guise or form that hold takes place. And if, in the process, she finds that she is in part Pharaoh to herself, she must renew the struggle yearly until such time when she can stand at a seder and recite for herself:

For a woman (individual): B'chol dor vador chayavet ishah lir'ot et atzma k'ilu hee yatz'ah mimitzrayim.

In every generation, it is the duty of a woman to consider herself as if she herself had come forth from Egypt.

3 ג

Go Forth and Learn

By Tamara Cohen

Go forth and learn. All who have been oppressed can also oppress.

Sarah our mother oppressed her Egyptian maidservant Hagar. Sarah was barren and she wanted a child. She gave Hagar, her Egyptian maidservant, to Abraham as a wife. When Hagar conceived and became pregnant Sarah grew lesser in her eyes. So Sarah oppressed her and Hagar ran away, as it says:

"V'ta'aneiha Sarai v'tivrach mipaneyha" (Bereishit 16:6)

Go forth and learn: Pharaoh the Egyptian oppressed our people when they dwelled in Egypt.

The Israelites descended to Egypt and lived there. When then they became a nation - great, mighty and numerous - Pharaoh feared that the Egyptians would be overcome by the great multitudes of Israelites, so he decreed that every male child born to an Israelite woman be thrown into the Nile. And the Egyptians treated us harshly and oppressed us; they imposed hard labor on us as it says:

"Vayarei'u otanu mamitzvrim va'y'anunu va'yitnu aleinu avoda kasha." (Devarim 26:6)

This you should never forget: the same word used for Hagar's oppression at the hands of Sarah is used for the Israelites' oppression at the hands of the Egyptians.

This too you should never forget: The children of Israel were saved through the brave and righteous acts of two women: one Hebrew and one Egyptian. Miriam and the daughter of Pharaoh.

Go forth and learn: It is easier to oppress than to be free, "Until all of us are free none of us is free." (Emma Lazarus, Epistle to the Hebrews)