Kenneth Cohen

Telling the Passover Story

Rabbi David Lau, the chief rabbi of Israel, spoke this past Shabbat about the obligation to tell the Pesach story at the Seder. This, and the Mitzva to eat Matza, are the two Torah laws we fulfill at the Seder.

Rabbi Lau questioned a quote from the Rambam, regarding the obligation to mention יציאת מצרים, the exodus from Egypt, every morning and evening. This is the reason why we read the chapter on Tzizit at night, when there is no obligation to wear Tzizit at night.

The Rambam explained that this chapter is added, because of its ending. We are told to remember that it is Hashem that took you out of Egypt. So we see that Egypt must be mentioned, morning and evening.

If we are obligated to mention Egypt every day of the year, what is this special obligation at the Seder? Rabbi Lau explained that our focus on Seder night is meant to be an affirmation of our faith in G-d.

The foundation of Judaism is based on the acceptance that the events in Egypt and Sinai, are real; they actually happened. We are to re-live these events to affirm our place as part of the Jewish nation. No nation ever began as a people, with signs and wonders, as we witnessed. The goal of a successful Seder, is that we walk away feeling stronger in our faith, and feeling all the more fortunate to be part of Am Yisrael.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at