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    Remembering the Exodus every day – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Since the Torah tells us to remember the going out of Egypt all the days of our lives (Deut. 16:3), why do we need a special festival of remembrance?

    The Israelites leaving Egypt, by David Roberts c1830

    A. True, we should remember the Exodus every day, not just on Pesach. But remembering is not our only duty. There is also the duty of telling, which is what the name “Haggadah” literally means. The remembering is for every day: the telling is especially for Pesach.

    Rav Chaim of Brisk used to say there were several differences between the two duties. Remembering is an individual act: you can remember the Exodus by yourself. Telling, however, is a community act: you put the story into words and share it with others. Remembering is a process of thinking about the general nature of an event; telling requires you to recognise the sequence of the development of the story.

    Two further points can be made. Remembering can be academic, but when you tell the story you become personally involved, so that you feel you are there, feeling the pain of the enslavement and sharing the joy at the redemption. In addition, after remembering and telling, you instinctively want to praise God for His miracles and his deliverances.

    This suggests a new translation of a well-known passage in the Haggadah, “The more one tells of the going out from Egypt, harei zeh meshubbach” – though these words are usually rendered, “the more he is praised”, they could be translated, “the more God is praised”.

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