This is how the Passover seder begins, as Jewish families all over the world prepare to re-experience their people’s historic exodus from Egypt.
Herein lies the essence of the evening and of the holiday: the national transformation from servitude to freedom. As we well know, Western culture recognizes no loftier ideal than freedom, no more contemptible degradation than slavery.
And yet, there seems to be a contradiction. When the Jewish patriarch Jacob looked with trepidation at the beginnings of exile as he prepares to lead his family down into Egypt, the Almighty reassured him with the words, “al tiroh avdi Yaakov — Do not fear, My servant Jacob.” The sages observe that only ten were called by G-d, “My servant,” and that there is no greater accolade than to be considered a servant of…
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