4/12/2006

צא ולמד 2

[actual text of my Seder handout, which includes the sections from Bereshis, Devarim, Yehoshua, Yechezkel, and Tehillim, all of which, by the way, are cited at different points in the ‘tze u-lemad section of the hagadah]

On this night of Pesach, we are enjoined to retell and re-experience the story of our Repdemption and Exodus from Egypt, the land of our enslavement. Traditionally, our retelling takes the form of the brief summary of the events that accompanied one’s delivery of their bikkurim, their first fruits, to the Temple and its Kohanim. We expound upon the meaning of each phrase in this summary, trying to recover its embedded meanings.

The goal of this section of the hagadah is to engage, develop, and question the story, in our attempt to reconstruct all of its meaning. Unfortunately, we have become content to read and recite ancient interpretations without trying to engage the story ourselves.

Therefore, you will find, in this packet, the ‘raw material’ that Our Sages themselves used to compose the hagadah, which includes five different retellings (actually, 4 retellings and one ‘pre-telling’) of the events. We will study each of these sections, and try to answer the following questions?

What is emphasized and what is neglected in this retelling?
Where does the story begin, where does it end, and what’s the climax?
What is the context in which the story was invoked, and what is the narrator trying to accomplish with it?

Through this study, we will try to reconstruct what the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim means and has meant, how it was and is remembered, and how it influences our understanding of ourselves.
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