"Will the formula at last be found, by which love can coexist
peaceably with justice, and freedom with law -- on this
earth? Will light and truth finally gain genuine victories?
Or will science and art debase themselves and increasingly
become accomplices of sensualism and despiritualization? Will
the mind of man bend ever lower under the yoke of
These were some of the questions posed about Pesach 142 years
ago by HaRav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch (see "Nissan II,"
Collected Writings, Vol. I, p. 23). Speaking about the
beginnings of his century (the nineteenth), HaRav Hirsch
writes: ". . . people were convinced that brilliant eras of
enlightenment and knowledge, of well-being and peace were
approaching on the horizon of the nations."
Already two hundred years ago, the explosion of knowledge and
the increasing mastery of humanity over nature led people to
anticipate the benefits of this progress in these terms. Two
hundred years later there has been tremendous progress in
these areas, in everything from life expectancy to mastery of
space and time with jet planes and cellular phones. Yet
morally and spiritually these utopian goals seem no closer to
realization. On the contrary, they do not even have the mass
appeal that they had two centuries ago. So much of humanity
has clearly been overwhelmed by the yoke of the souped-up and
technologically-magnified sensuality that is so easily
available today for an affordable price.
Love, justice, freedom and law are still on the lips of our
leaders, but all too often they are hollow words that are
filled with content that is quite the opposite of their
As humanity is hell-bent on going fast forward to a hi-tech
future, it forgets that in the areas of morality and
spirituality, innovation is not the tool to use to search for
the best. To make progress in those all-important fields
which are the locus of all that is truly valuable in the
universe, we can do no better than to restore the past.
It was on the night of Pesach that Hashem wrenched us out
from under the yoke of Mitzrayim -- both the physical
domination of our work and the sensual blandishments of the
fleshpots of the country. We passed through the sea where it
became so clear that this was not a singular occurrence but a
reflection of a constant reality: Hashem yimloch le'olom
vo'ed. We followed Hashem out into the desert, far from
the distractions of civilization, where it was easy to see
that the purpose of our gold is to help build a Mishkan for
Hashem among us, and nothing else.
On the night of Pesach, we relive these ideas and refresh our
commitment and understanding of what our real goals are. It
is because of what we do and experience that night, that
Hashem keeps us going. It is our commitment to Torah and
mitzvos which forms our goals and supplies the meaning of
everything that we do.
Ba'avur ze: it is when we are doing it and it is in
front of us, that we can explain why Hashem saves us. A
family united in the performance of mitzvos and discussing
Torah is true love, justice, freedom and law, all combined in
a small, one-night victory of light and truth.