Pesach: a night of recalling the miracles of our past and recognizing the miracles in our lives today.

The words “b’chol dor va’dor – in every generation and generation” appear twice in the Haggadah, reminding us that while we may be experiencing times of darkness, the miracles continue. Hashem is with us.

B’chol dor va’dor, in every generation and generation, omdim aleinu l’chaloseinu, they rise against us to annihilate us, v’HaKadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu mi’yadam, Hashem rescues us from their hands.”

Later in the Haggadah, we are also told to feel as if we, ourselves, left Mitzrayim: “B’chol dor va’dor chayav adam lir’os es atzmo k’ilu hu yatza miMitzrayim.” Miracles, past and present, merge into one.

Each one of us, in our own way, has a Mitzrayim. A challenge, a difficulty. But know that Hashem is there, helping us, then and now.

Seder night is a night of sharing our miraculous, magical history. “V’higgadeta l’vincha, and you shall tell it to your children.” A time for family to sit around the table. It is a night to cherish the children. A night when parent and child together share stories, divrei Torah, and the melodious songs of the Haggadah. A night to continue the chain, link by link.

The very name of the Yom Tov, “Pesach,” alludes to that. Peh, meaning mouth, sach, meaning to speak. Pesach is about finding our mouth, our voice, and learning how to truly speak about our nation’s history. To transmit the story of our people from Egypt to Sinai, from cruel slavery to sweet freedom, culminating with Hashem’s gift of our eternal Torah.

The Seder table has room for the Arbaah Banim, the Four Sons. Each one is different, yet, each one has his own place, each one has his own question, and each one is given an answer. In this spirit, I think of the little ones at the Seder, and the flavor they add to the table. Songs they learned in pre-school… “Frogs here, frogs there, frogs jumping everywhere.” Another favorite is: “Pharaoh in pajamas in the middle of the night.” A song depicting Pharaoh, running through the streets of Mitzrayim, calling out, “Moshe, Moshe, you can go now.” Even while Mitzrayim was suffering from the Makkos, Pharoah put on pajamas. He got into bed. He went to sleep. Only when the situation became intolerable did he get up and seek out Moshe, “Vayakam Par’oh lailah, and Pharaoh rose in the middle of the night.” (Sh’mos 12:30). Rashi comments, “mi’mitaso, from his bed.” We may ask, from where else does one rise in the middle of the night? Rashi is bringing out an important point. Pharaoh had no qualms about going to sleep as his country was burning. As the pasuk tells us, “Ein bayis asher ein sham meis, there was not a house that was free from death.”

I think of the Chofetz Chaim who, during World War II, did not rest in his bed. I think of my own grandmother, my father’s mother, Chayah Sarah Hy”d, after whom I am named. When her son, Yosef Dov Hy”d, was forced into the Hungarian Army, she wouldn’t get into her bed, but would sit on her chair, night after night, reciting T’hilim and crying over the devastation befalling am Yisrael at that time. My father would plead with her to go sleep, but to no avail. She would say, “How can I sleep, how can I get into a bed, when my Yosef Dov is not here.”

Today, we must ask ourselves that very same question. How can we rest, how can we go to sleep, when the Jewish world is on fire. A war in Eretz Yisrael, anti-Semitic attacks all around us, threats to our physical existence that we have not seen since the Holocaust.

Unlike Pharaoh, we are not a nation that gets comfortable in bed while our brothers and sisters are in pain. Everyone, each one of us, in our own way, is in “miluim,” reserves. Each one of us is doing what we can. From those on the frontlines, to those taking on extra Torah learning, increased concentration in t’filah, being more meticulous in the observance of mitzvos, doing more chesed, and giving more tz’dakah. All for the sake of am Yisrael.

Each of the plagues came with a message to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Messages they chose to ignore.

Dam – Blood. The Egyptians shed the blood of B’nei Yisrael… The Egyptians’ water turned to blood.

Tz’fardei’a – Frogs. The Egyptian taskmasters croaked orders to B’nei Yisrael… Now, they heard frogs croaking.

Kinim – lice. B’nei Yisrael were subjected to deplorable living conditions, bringing on lice, vermin, etc… The Egyptians were treated to a lice infestation of their own.

Arov – wild beasts. B’nei Yisrael were forced to collect wild animals for the Egyptian circuses… Now, wild animals filled the streets, roaming and attacking Egyptians at will.

Dever – pestilence. Egyptians stole sheep and cattle from B’nei Yisrael … Now, their cattle became ill and perished.

Sh’chin – boils. Bnei Yisroel were forced to collect and heat water for Egyptian bathhouses… The Egyptians became covered with boils, wounds that made it painful to bathe.

Barad – hailstones. Egyptians threw stones at the Jewish people… Now, hailstones rained down upon them.

Arbeh – locusts. B’nei Yisrael were forced to scrounge for their own food in the field… A swarm of locusts attacked the Egyptian fields.

Choshech – darkness. As slaves, B’nei Yisrael were confined, deprived of the liberty to move about as they pleased… During the plague of darkness, the Egyptians were locked in place.

Makas B’choros – Plague of the Firstborn. Pharaoh ordered all newborn baby boys to be cast into the river… Now, a plague causing the death of the firstborn sons of Egypt.

Defying all logic, Pharaoh chose time and time again to ignore these messages: not only when he was warned, but even when they actually happened. Today, let’s look at messages Hashem is sending us. Just think, a war that started on Shabbos, perhaps a message to elevate our Shabbos, to appreciate this special gift from Hashem. A tragedy that occurred on Simchas Torah. Perhaps a message to increase our Torah study, to find fulfillment in the observance of mitzvos.

In that z’chus, may it be this year, when we open the door for Eliyahu HaNavi, we should hear news of the g’ulah, the final redemption. May we see the realization of L’shanah ha’baah biYerushalayim, Next year in Yerushalayim.

Chaya Sora can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.