“Connecting The Story” From The Diary Of A Former Slave

Jan 7th, 2011 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Portion of the Week
A strange thing happened in the moments just after we bowed to God in joy. It was almost as if our new confidence had corrupted us. We began speaking to each other without respect, with arrogance, not much different from the way our Egyptian masters used to speak to us.

“Quiet!” ordered Moshe, “do you not remember what it was like to be on the receiving end of such verbal bullying?”

He was right. We stood silently in our shame.

“You are becoming puffed-up.”

“ Rabbi Moshe,” we said, “we don’t know how to manage these intense feelings.”

“God told me that you would not. He also gave me instructions for you to learn how to manage these changes.”

This was unbelievable! God was healing us. He was changing us, and now, He was guiding us in managing our feelings. We had spent the six months of the plagues thinking of God’s power. We were scared of Him. Now, we were learning that He is so much more. We were desperate for Moshe to continue:

“God wants you to remove any leavened dough from your homes before you make your Pesach Offering and while you are eating it. Do you understand why?”

We understood. God was telling us that our natural reaction to these new feelings would be exactly what happened; we would become arrogant. Puffed-up. Arrogant.

“He wants you to actively destroy the leavened bread, the Chameitz. We all have to actively work at destroying arrogance.”

We understood.

“What will we eat?” we asked.

“Matzah, unleavened bread.”

Matzah was not something we wanted to eat. It was too familiar to us from the horrible meals the Egyptians provided.

“God also wants you to eat bitter herbs.”

Matzah, bitter herbs. God wanted us to remember the suffering.

Moshe continued, “Remember, your suffering is part of your story. You cannot forget the past. You will eat the Matzah and Marror with your Pesach Offering and connect the bitter past with your future.”

We didn’t wait for Moshe to say, “And there’s more!” We wanted more. We were intrigued by this idea of having a story. We wondered how far back our story would go. Would we make our foolish decision to volunteer for Pharaoh part of the story? Would the Joseph story become part of ours?

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