The wicked son, we are told, would not have been redeemed
from Mitzrayim, had he been there at the time. He would not
have been worthy. But there were really many Yidden who were
lost in Mitzrayim. Chazal say that 80 percent were killed
during the plague of darkness because they were reshoim.
Those who wish to be part of Klal Yisroel must make
themselves appear as if they just left Mitzrayim (Pesochim
10:5, Rambam, Hilchos Chometz Umatzoh, 7:6).
Are we playing a game? Are we living a lie? Chas
vesholom! Or maybe we should say, "Halevai!" Even
if on the Seder night we can be true bnei chorin whose
only concern is, thus, to be avdei Hashem, free of any
distractions, yet at other times who can testify that he does
not serve Pharaoh to some extent, whether more or less?
HaRav Moshe Shapira explains that those who approach time as
a straight line that continues inexorably from one state to
the next and each year is utterly new, without any special
connection to the year before -- davka that approach
leads to a denial of renewal. Man cannot add anything new to
the universe. Everything that happens is the unfolding of the
consequences of the boundary conditions that prevailed at the
origin of the physical world.
Only those who live by the chodesh that is cyclical,
bringing around the recurring seasons as ordained by the
Divine design, see the possibility of chiddush, true
innovation and renewal. Only acceptance of the yoke of Heaven
and the recognition of the cyclical nature of history, can
lead to reception of the Torah that makes us bnei
chorin, truly morally free.
Seeing ourselves as having just left Mitzrayim, is explicitly
set in the context that we find ourselves. Bechol dor
vodor chayov odom lir'os es atzmo ke'ilu hu [be'atzmo] yotzo
[atoh] miMitzrayim. We see ourselves as having gone out
of Mitzrayim within the generation that we find ourselves.
Every year on Pesach, there is a special Divine influence as
part of Pesach, which enables us to have a personal,
immediate Exodus from the Mitzrayim in which we find
ourselves in our generation.
In some generations, one had to be a philosopher and a
perceptive social critic in order to want to free himself of
its influence. To outward appearance, people were civilized
and ruled by reason. Mankind as a whole seemed to be
progressing towards increased knowledge that was leading to
development in all areas of human endeavor that promised a
great and desirable future. It took a sharp eye to discern
the decadence that flowed beneath the surface.
In our day, it should be easier to want to get out from under
the Mitzrayim that threatens us. All the rot has burst to the
surface. No one is ruled by reason. Everyone is just trying
to enjoy himself. Doctors use their tremendous knowledge to
determine when and how to kill their patients. People blow
themselves up just to murder others, and not to advance any
particular positive plan or vision of the future -- and the
world just accepts it and "understands" it. Art has no
pretension to uplift or enlighten; it just hopes to entertain
in order to make a fast buck. Business is not run to provide
an honorable parnossoh to workers and customers, but
to enrich the managers. Morality is shattered not just at the
margins of society. Now there are successful efforts to
"redefine" the family, the basic unit of society, to include
abominations that run counter to nature and all decency and
will certainly destroy society eventually. They have long
lost the central purpose of marriage which is to live in
harmony and be fruitful.
For most of the year, our charge is to be, in the words of
the American Agudath Yisroel, "a true light in an
increasingly darkening world." On the night of Pesach, we
join with our families to retell and relive the journey from
gnus to shvach, and from darkness to a great
May we all be zoche to it -- and maybe we can spread
some of it around in the world.