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Lev Avos Blog

Exploring Tanach while reflecting on parenthood

Imagine all the people will Live as one

Yechiel Shaffer

The Rambam instructs us (positive Mitzvah 157) to tell the story of the Exodus once a year on Pesach evening. We are to recall the miracles and tell our children of the birth of our nation.

Near the beginning of our Seder we pull out one of the Matzahs and divide it into two pieces. There are an array of suggestions as to why we do this but one that resonates every year is that the impoverished slave does not eat all of his food immediately. If he is fortunate enough to have a morsel of food, he saves a piece for later since he does not know where his next meal will come from. 

The first piece of Matzah is then placed back on the Seder table and the second is hidden.

It is powerful to consider who is responsible to remind us of the hidden Matzah. This burden generally falls upon the youngest child in the room. She searches high and low, her entire focus for the remainder of the Seder is on finding this broken Matzah. The reward of bringing the Matzah back to the table is high and this is ultimately the highlight of the Seder.

Perhaps only someone with the supreme enthusiasm of a child, with a active imagination can bring this Matzah back together. Only she can imagine the rewards for discovering this Matzah. Only she can remind us that at one point we believed enough in the future that we saved some food for that time. Only she can make us whole after slavery. 

Too often fear holds us back from reflecting on our lives and pursuing opportunities for sanctity. With age our imaginations become at best muffled. The child, who is unafraid, who doesn't know of the cruelty of slavery, is tasked with making us remember that we have a piece of Matzah hidden away for the future. 

It may be near impossible for us to imagine slavery, to imagine freedom, to imagine what the world will be like in the future - it is the child at the Seder that reminds us what it is like to have an imagination and to be inspired by it. Happy Pesach.