The Passover eve ceremony has a lot of things to do, so you need to set up everything in the correct order. That's where the word "seder" comes from: it means order. Now I'll admit that on Passover eve (the seder night) you do eat a whole bunch of things: four cups of wine because freedom should encompass all sides to your personality, celery which is just a taste of good things to come as all that we've experienced up until now is just a taste of the better world that we are all working towards, matzah which is flour and water only – emphasizing the need to get back to the essential basics of life, bitter herbs that life also has struggles which deepen and enrich our character, and maybe also a little bit of a meal because we are happy to be able to be good and always improve, too. BUT – the biggest thing of the seder night is to talk.

Talking doesn't mean telling Uncle Joe how to invest his pension fund or Auntie Esther bragging about her beautiful grand-daughter who is both a lawyer and a doctor and married and the proud mother of triplets. It's not the time for Loony Louie (as he's known in the family) to demonstrate his experience from India, where having smoked whatever it was he then slept it off for twenty straight hours on a bed of nails. All those are, uh, well, somewhat off topic for the seder night. Instead – this night is different from all other nights because we are going to uplift ourselves and become part of this three thousand eight hundred year old endeavor to make the world a better place. So talking means telling the story of the exodus, the leaving, the getaway, the escape or the skedaddle from Egypt.

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Now you're going to say: "It's an old story that I've already heard a dozen times!" Or: "It happened eons ago – so how is this relevant for me?"


But the thing is: we say in the Haggadah: even if we're all old and wise and know it all – it's still our obligation, it's still a mitzvah to tell the story.

So why – if we already know it all – is it a great good deed to tell the story?

Because this night is soooo different than all other nights, because this night we relive becoming free – and THAT makes us truly free again. Not free from Egypt, from exile, or from an outside bondage – but free from an inner bondage, which is infinitely worse. A person could have been a prisoner in faraway Soviet Siberia – yet be free in their soul, in their personality. Or, sadly, a person can be legally free, as in the West, yet in bondage to so many things that cause us to forget our inner self. Yet on this night we re-enact the freedom that was bestowed on us by the Creator and through our own actions.

When we tell the story of the exodus, which was in essence our birth as a free nation acting on the stage of history – we are writing the story of our freedom today, tomorrow and in the far future. The more we absorb the spiritual aspects and delve into the deeper meanings of the story we tell at the seder – the more we deepen the freedom within ourselves.

Does this sound kind of spooky to you, a bit mystical? It should, because it is a basic idea of the seder night that comes from the heights of Jewish mysticism, which when studied in depth is a wellspring of deep Jewish thought.

So tell the story, because it's different every year. Every generation has it's own challenges in becoming free to its inner self. Every person has their own particular challenges to being true to their inner soul, and the challenges often change from year to year. And if you think all is the same this year as last year, if it seems to you that this night is the same as all other nights – then, my friend, you are in great need of telling and hearing this story, because if all is the same then you are in a deep bondage, so deep that you can't realize it! So make haste, as our ancestors did on the first seder night, but deliberate haste, so as not to lose one iota of the tingling sense of freedom that awakens in us on this night which is like no other night in the year. Tell the story, because it's our story, because it's your story.

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