Rabbi Nachum Aaron Kutnowski: The Exodus Reenactment

Rabbi Nachum Aaron Kutnowski

By Rabbi Nachum Aaron Kutnowski

(Calgary) – It is an exciting time in Alberta as the last of the surprising snow falls melt away and spring season begins to blossom and bloom around us. As Jews, this time of year is not solely a physical rejuvenation and awakening, but a spiritual one as well, as we prepare for the holiday of Pesach – the time of our national freedom from bondage.

This historical event is memorialized annually with the positive commandment to tell about the miracles experienced by our ancestors in Egypt on the night of the fifteenth of the Jewish month of Nissan. This is learned from the verse: “Remember this day, on which you left Egypt…” (Shemot 13:3). This is learned from this verse as well: “And you shall tell your child…” (Shemot 13:8). Though, one might erroneously conclude that this commandment can only be done by those with children, Maimonides, in his codification of Jewish law entitled Mishneh Torah, clarifies: “And this commandment is obligatory even when one does not have a child” (Mishneh Torah, Sefer Zemanim, Hilchot Chametz U’Matzah 7:1). We can see this idea in the following Talmudic excerpt: “The Sages taught: If his son is wise, he asks [the Ma Nishtana]. And if he is not capable, his wife asks him, and if not, he asks himself…” (Tractate Pesachim 116a).

It seems noteworthy that the Torah, the Divine word of G-d, would frame the commandment to remember the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt as a matter that a parent passes down to a child. Since it was expressed this way, how exactly does a lone individual actualize this aspect of passing down the story of the Jews going free and what is the greater significance of this idea?

A plausible explanation could revolve around the concept of the “inner child.” Each individual carries within themselves a metaphorical representation of their inner child – the Pintele Yid. This is the part of us that retains innocence, purity, and openness to learning. Just as a parent imparts the story of liberation to their child, each person can connect with their own inner child to rejuvenate their spirit and experience personal freedom.

Actualizing this aspect involves introspection and storytelling, not necessarily in the traditional parent-child dynamic but even within ourselves. By revisiting the Exodus story, reflecting on its significance, and internalizing its lessons, individuals can nurture their inner child and embark on a journey of personal liberation.

The greater significance lies in the idea that liberation is not solely an historical event but a continuous process of spiritual growth and renewal. By embracing the commandment to remember and retell the story, each individual can reawaken and reaffirm their connection to their heritage and express appreciation for their freedom.

Have a wonderful Pesach.

Rabbi Nachum Aaron Kutnowski is the Head of Judaic Studies at Halpern Akiva Academy.


Be the first to comment on "Rabbi Nachum Aaron Kutnowski: The Exodus Reenactment"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.