Question #48 – What Happens In Egypt…

The Haggadah asks us to to study the verses from Devarim which describe the exodus. One of the verses reads:

אֲרַמִּי אֹבֵד אָבִי וַיֵּרֶד מִצְרַיְמָה וַיָּגָר שָׁם בִּמְתֵי מְעָט וַיְהִי-שָׁם לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל עָצוּם וָרָב.

“My father was a fugitive Aramean. He went down to Egypt with meager numbers and sojourned there; but there he became a nation great and very populous.

The Haggadah keys up on several sections of this verse. One comment made is:

“…but there he became a nation…”

This teaches that Israel was/ became distinctive there.

The hugged seems to emphasize the word there.

What does does it mean to be distinctive?

Is it important that this distinctiveness came about in exile, outside the land of Israel?

What makes you distinct? Where are you most distinctive?

Question #47 – When God doesn’t Tell the Truth

Hashem promised Abraham that his children would be slaves for 400 years.

Joseph gets sold into Egypt at age 17 and rises to the position of viceroy. At the age of 40, and, during a regional famine, Joseph’s family (brothers, and father Jacob) join him in Egypt. From the point of the family’s decent into Egypt it is 210 years until the family follows Moses into the desert and out of slavery. It is 227 year if you count from the time Joseph went down.

The opening passages of the book of Exodus tell us that the slavery started only after the death of Joseph and his generation and after Joseph was forgotten. Joseph lived for 110 years, his siblings lived longer.

Lets do some math:

227 years –  from Joseph coming to Egypt until the Exodus.

210 years – all the Jews were in Egypt

70  years – the time between Jews coming to Egypt and Joseph’s death

140 years – maximum possible slavery years

32 – 50 years – estimated years until the death of Joseph’s generation

90 – 108 years – Estimated Total Years of Slavery 

Does Hashem owe us 300 or so more years of slavery?

Why is it that Hashem promises one thing and delivers another?

When else does this happen?

Should we be grateful or angry? Does this make you trust Hashem more or less?

Question #46 – When does Process Matter?

There is a discussion amongst the Talmudic commentators. Must one destroy the hametz or must one ensure that no hametz are in their possession. 

What’s the difference? Well what if you ate all your hametz? 

There are those who suggest that one must purchase hametz the morning before pessah I order to destroy them. 

When preparing for Passover do we care about the result or the process? In what other cases in your lives may the process be more important than the result?

Question #45 – When is it enough?

The song Dayeinu has a catchy tune but when we look at the words it can be confusing.

If He had split the sea before us and not led us through on dry land – it would have been enough for us!

If he had drowned our tormentors and not provided sustenance in the desert for forty years – it would have been enough for us!

But if he split the sea and not saved us what would have been the point and if he killed our tormentors and let us die of thirst and starvation in the desert what would have been the point? Moreover is it true that it would have been enough for us?

What does it mean to have enough? What do you have enough of in your lives?

Question #44 – Tell and Remember

There is a mitzvah (commandment) to remember the exodus from Egypt every day and every night. This mitzvah comes from the verse:

so that you will recall the exodus from Egypt all the days of your life

There is a special mitzvah to tell the story of the exodus at the seder. This mitzvah comes from the verse:

And you shalt tell your son in that day, saying: It is because of that which the LORD did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.

How are these mitzvoth different?

What does the daily mitzvah demand of us that the yearly mitzvah does not?

What does the mitzvah at the seder entail that is absent from the daily mitzvah?

Question #43 – The Land of Israel, a Place of Freedom?


In the first paragraph of Magid the הא לחמא עניא the Ha lama anya – we say

this year we are slaves, next year we are free, this year we are here, next year we will be in the land of Israel

The Haggadah juxtaposes our slavery with being outside the Land of Israel and our freedom with being in the Land of Israel.

Is being in Israel necessary for you to feel free? Why? Why do the Jewish People need the land of Israel?