The Israelites were about to go free. Nine of the ten plagues had already taken place. The tenth, they knew would be the last… Moses gathered the people and instructed them on the preparations they were to make. By any standard it was an epic moment.
For 210 years the Israelites had been in exile. They had experienced suffering, slavery, and attempted genocide. Now they were about to begin the journey know to history as the Exodus.
What would Moses say? He might have spoken about freedom, or the promised destination, the “land flowing with milk and honey.” He might have chosen to speak about the arduous journey that lay ahead…
Instead he spoke about children, and the distant future, and the duty to pass on memory to generations yet unborn. Three times he turned to the theme:
And if your children should ask you, “What is this rite you perform?” you shall say… (Exodus 12:26-27)
And you shall tell your child on that day, “It is because of what the Lord did for me when I went out of Egypt.
And if in that time your children should ask you, “What is this?” you shall say to him… (Exodus 13:14)**
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* Chana Zelig, Pesach
** Rabbi Sacks, The Jonathan Sacks Haggada, pg. 16