To See and To Be Seen

(ה) רבן גמליאל היה אומר: כל שלא אמר שלשה דברים אלו בפסח, לא יצא ידי חובתו, ואלו הן: פסח, מצה, ומרור. פסח - על שום שפסח המקום על בתי אבותינו במצרים. מצה - על שום שנגאלו אבותינו ממצרים. מרור - על שום שמררו המצרים את חיי אבותינו במצרים. בכל דור ודור חיב אדם לראות את עצמו כאלו הוא יצא ממצרים, שנאמר (שמות יג) והגדת לבנך ביום ההוא לאמר, בעבור זה עשה ה' לי בצאתי ממצרים. לפיכך אנחנו חיבין להודות, להלל, לשבח, לפאר, לרומם, להדר, לברך, לעלה ולקלס למי שעשה לאבותינו ולנו את כל הנסים האלו, הוציאנו מעבדות לחרות, מיגון לשמחה, ומאבל ליום טוב, ומאפלה לאור גדול, ומשעבוד לגאלה. ונאמר לפניו הללויה.

(5) Rabban Gamliel used to say: Whoever does not mentioned these three things on Passover does not discharge his duty, and these are they: the Passover-offering, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs. [The] Passover-offering [is offered] because the Omnipresent One passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt. Unleavened bread [is eaten] because our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt. [The] bitter herb is [eaten] because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt. In every generation a person must regard himself as though he personally had gone out of Egypt, as it is said: “And you shall tell your son in that day, saying: ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.’” Therefore it is our duty to thank, praise, laud, glorify, exalt, honor, bless, extol, and adore Him Who performed all these miracles for our ancestors and us; He brought us forth from bondage into freedom, from sorrow into joy, from mourning into festivity, from darkness into great light, and from servitude into redemption. Therefore let us say before Him, Hallelujah!

וּבְכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר, חַיָּב אָדָם לְהַרְאוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם, שֶׁלֹּא אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בִּלְבָד גָּאַל, אֵלָא אַף אוֹתָנוּ גָּאַל--שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "וְאוֹתָנוּ, הוֹצִיא מִשָּׁם--לְמַעַן, הָבִיא אֹתָנוּ, לָתֶת לָנוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ" (דברים ו,כג).

Haggadah according to the Rambam (aka the Sephardi version,

In every generation, a person is obligated to show himself as if he had left Egypt: for He did not redeem only our ancestors, but even us as well, as it is written "And He brought us out from thence, that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He swore unto our fathers" (Deuteronomy 6,23).

Yismach Yisrael Haggadah p. 107a


In every generation a person is obligated to see his “essence:” The word atzmo, usually translated as “himself,” can also be translated as “his essence,” as in the verse, “It was the very essence (etzem) of the heavens for purity (Ex. 24:10)” This is an allusion to the inner divine spark found in each of us. A person must strengthen this holy spark no matter how low a state he reaches. In Egypt, we were so deeply mired in impurity that the Prosecutor said 'both the Israelites and the Egyptians worship idols – so how was one any better than the other?' And yet the Holy One in his great mercy looked and saw the inner spark of the people, as it says, “I am the one who explores the heart and the conscience. (Jer. 17:10)” So, too, each Jew must say that in every generation a person must strengthen the inner spark, which is still in him. This spark is capable of blossoming and becoming revitalized in the end. The Holy One not only redeemed our ancestors long ago but he redeems us as well along with them. As the holy Ari has said, “All the souls of the Jewish people were in the iron furnace of Egypt and we were redeemed from there."

Rabbi Jill Jacobs:

Some commentators emphasize the individual nature of the statement that each person should see himself or herself as having gone forth from Egypt. The Ritba (Rabbi Yom Tov ben Avraham Ishbili, 125-1330) stresses that “every single individual must see and look at himself as though he had been a slave in Egypt and as though he went forth to freedom.” Whereas the Hagaddah frames in the plural its earlier comment that God redeemed both our ancestors and us, the obligation to see ourselves as former slaves is articulated in the singular. On Pesach, the Ritba suggests, it is not enough to speak of our communal liberation from slavery; rather, we must each experience this redemption also as a personal journey.Taking this emphasis on the individual one step further, the N’tziv (Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, 1817-1893) likens the command to see oneself as having come forth from Egypt to the talmudic comment that each person should say that the entire world was created for his or her sake. In the same way, the N’tziv says, each person should consider the exodus from Egypt as a personal miracle, done only for him or her. One who sees the exodus as having taken place for his or her own benefit cannot help but be grateful to God