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Published by: outdash2 on Sep 09, 2013
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Imagination and Redemption
 Past and Future
 A Novel Look at the Mitzvah of Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim
Rabbi Avie Schreiber
The theme of redemption dominates the night of the Seder. By delving into one of the primary
of the evening - - we can identify the key to our redemption in the past.In turn, we can learn to unlock the potential to our present and future redemption as well.
I. The Irony of 
I would like to begin by asking two questions regarding :
Question #1
teach us . Whydoes the
of include this detail? No other 
that involvesmemory of a past event requires us actually to visualize ourselves reliving the event!Before asking the second question we need to clarify two issues.1) At what time of day did gain their freedom from ? Based on theand many ,
 Am Yisrael 
as a whole physically left during the daytimeon the 15th of as it says in the
. However, the status of the Jews changed beforehand. It seems that at - whenoccurred, the Jews gained the status of free people
. This is based on the Pasuk:
Based on this Pasuk, it is clear that the Jews were freed at night
, even though they didn’t
 physically leave until the next day.
When is the deadline for fulfilling the
We likethat the needs to be eaten before midnight. According to some ,the timing of is linked to the timing of , and therefore, the
 of must also be concluded before midnight
.Based on the two points clarified above, there is an ironic twist to the
of , which forms the basis for my second question.
Question #2 -
Why does the
of apply only during the time that theJews were still slaves - the night of the 15th before ? Since the
is to imagineourselves being freed from , the
should apparently apply during the time
See the quoted below that supports this assumption.
" '-  ( ' ,  , ,  .
were actually freed
i.e., after . Minimally, it should extend past and apply until themorning!The in seems to relate to this issue. In this
, Beit Hillel and BeitShamai discuss how much of 
should be said prior to .
[]? ...  : ?  !
“What part of Hallel is recited (before the meal)?
 say until (only the1st paragraph of Hallel which begins with the word 
should be said) and sayuntil (the 2nd paragraph of Hallel which begins with the words should also be said)... said to
 , ‘Did the Jews leave
 yet (at thisearly time of night) which would warrant the saying of 
‘Even if we wait until morning to recite this paragraph [it still wouldn’t be the time they left  ]. The Jews didn’t leave until midday!”
 According to , we should wait to say until after the meal. Why?They seem to suggest that we should say the paragraph of at or near the time theJews were actually freed i.e. . Since the Afikoman should be eaten right before , themeal will end at about and then the paragraph of will be said at the proper time.
 believe that we shouldn’t say
earlier in the evening because theJews had not yet been freed. We, of course, follow who reject this reasoning. But
’s opinion requires explanation. We have a similar question for 
to that which we had before; Why is it acceptable and even preferable to say early in the evening, before actually left ?
II. - Food of the Future
In order to answer these two questions, let’s deal for a moment with one more question. The
tells us:
, ? ,  , ,,:, ,,  : , , .
Why do we eat this matzah? It is because the King of Kings, the Holy one, revealed Himself toour fathers and redeemed them before their dough had time to ferment, as it is written: "Theybaked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into unleavened cakes; for they weredriven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provision for their journey." 
 Various Rishonim
ask that if the reason for eating is to remember the manner in which weleft , why was there an obligation to eat in on of the night of the 15th of -the night before as it says
" "
. The Jews hadn’t yet
 ( ''
" '" .  ".
left in a hurry - -
and they hadn’t yet baked the
on the way out! What possiblereason could there have been to eat the before the redemption actually occurred? Rav Yosef Kimchi quoted by the offers the following answer:
. .
was to eat the Matzah - because of what would happen in the future. In asense, the Jews were commanded to act out the redemption before it actually happened. We canelaborate and suggest that by eating the Matzah the night before , the Jewish nationwas declaring that they believed with complete certainty that they would be redeemed the nextmorning. understood that the Matzah they ate that night, before they left
was aharbinger of their redemption. And perhaps it was also the cause for their redemption. Their ability to visualize themselves leaving even when they were still in the heart of their 
oppressor’s land was the key to their survival. Even in the midst of the darkness, they saw the
rays of light. In short, their and in their own redemption enabled them to achievethat redemption. We learn from this that the key to Jewish survival is our unshakeable belief inour future.
III. Imagination -
Perhaps now we can answer our two earlier questions. The first question we asked was why isthis the only
that requires us to use our imagination - to visualize an event that is notactually happening right now? The answer is that this is exactly what did in onthe night of . While they ate the that night, they
and envisioned themselveswith great clarity leaving . Just as they used their 
to visualize an event thatwas not actually happening at the moment, so we must use our 
to visualize an eventthat is not happening right now. While the Jews in needed to conjure the future, we needto conjure the past.This also answers our second question. Why does the obligation of - of imagining ourselves being freed - end (according to some) at ? The answer is because in, the night of - until only - was characterized by imagination. But after when were actually freed, there was no longer any need for imagination becausefreedom had already become a reality! Likewise, the to use our imagination on this nightonly applies until as well. Therefore, - our of ends atthe time that the actual redemption began.
IV. - A Two Step
 But perhaps we can take this a step farther. In order properly to fulfill the
of , we need to relive the process of freedom in the same way did. Just as itwas necessary for to imagine themselves leaving even before they actually did,even when they were still slaves, we need to do that as well. We can suggest therefore that thereare
two steps
to the
of .The
first step
is to imagine ourselves as slaves in who have a steadfast and profound belief in our imminent freedom. This first step transports us back to
- to the time beforewere free. We learn how to believe in our freedom even when it is not yet actualized.And this leads to the second step
second step
is to relive the experience of .This step transports us to after and to - to the day of the 15th - where we

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