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Where is Moses?

Sunday, 17 April, 2011 - 5:08 pm

Where is Moses? 

By Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman 

Interesting enough if you read the Hagadah the main hero of the story,Moses, is missing.  His name is mentioned only at the end of the Seder in the recounting of the Song of the Sea.

One of the reasons for this is that the Seder is to be conducted as a parent retelling the story to his children who did not witness and experience what the parent lived through.  "And it will on the day that your children ask you... and you should tell them".  Hence the Hagaddah is told in response to the Mah Nishtanah the questions that are asked.

All the Jewish children at that first Seder had lived through the Egyptian exile.  There was no questions to be asked as all of them had experienced the slavery save for the children of Moseswho were born in Midian and only joined the Jewish people after the Exodus.  Thus Moses' name is omitted from the Hagadah because Moses himself is the one reciting the Hagadah.

Is your Passover an event? Is your Judaism an event? Or is it who you are and part of your (Jewish) life?

For the children in Egypt there were no questions, because Judaism was their life.  They had experienced and sacrificed for Judaism, they had lived through the exile and redemption and revelation at Sinai.  For Moses children who hadn't experienced the slavery, for whom the Seder was an event they had questions.

If we want to ensure that our children are at the Seder each year and that the questions are not existential ones but rather about a desire to learn then we need to ensure that our Judaism and our Passover isn't an event.  Judaism and Passover need to be our life, our daily experience inherent in all of our spiritual, physical and mundane interactions. 

Best wishes for a Happy and Kosher Passover

Rabbi Schusterman

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