“In every generation, we are obliged to see ourselves as if we personally went out of Egypt.”
This injunction is read at the Passover Seder. It enjoins the Jewish people to remember the Exodus as more than just a historical event that occured thousands of years ago. We should do more than recount the story of our people’s deliverance. We are required to try to re-experience it; tasting the bitterness of slavery and the sweet joy of liberation.
This should move us to identify with those who are still oppressed; whether they are literally enslaved, like ISIS’s captives in the Middle East, or trafficked like the women who have been forced into the sex trade in our own country. We are expected to empathize with them, as well as all those people whose circumstances entrap them in poverty so dire that they are unable to escape it.
The Passover Seder is a reminder that the final deliverance is yet to come. After the meal, we open our doors to Elijah the prophet, the harbinger of the messianic era; inviting him into our homes and into our hearts. This reminds us that the work of redemption is still incomplete. In every generation, we are enjoined to do all that we can; working as God’s partners to speed the day when every person will know the joy of liberation.