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There are two Mitzvot which people tend to confuse with each other. The one is incumbent upon us every single day and night. That is the Mitzvah to “remember your going out from Egypt all the days of your life.” The other is the Mitzvah to “tell your children on that day” all about our Egyptian experience. They are not the same Mitzvah. The first is fulfilled when we say the third Parasha of Kriat Shema every evening and morning, when we remember that HaShem declared, “I am G-d your L-rd Who took you out from the Land of Egypt to be your Lord.” This Mitzvah is pretty easily fulfilled. On the other hand, the Mitzvah of retelling and recounting all about our experiences in Egypt comes only on Seder Night and is not so easy. It takes time and effort and some planning in advance.
Whatever is told and recounted on the Seder Night as part of the Mitzvah of ‘Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayyim’ will invariably fall under one of three headings which all together make up our Egyptian experience, as follows:  How hard and cruel was our slavery in Egypt.  How miraculous was our Deliverance from there by HaShem and  the purpose of that Deliverance, namely, to be His treasured Nation, the People of HaShem and His Torah. At the Seder, we are to utilize every moment we can to “tell it to your children.”
As a general rule of thumb, if a paragraph in the Hagaddah is in Aramaic, this indicates that the ‘Anshei Knesset HaGedolah’, the ‘Men of the Great Assembly’ (who composed the Haggadah) intended that everybody should understand clearly what is being said and that this is a part of the Mitzvah of the Seder Night. Aramaic was the language spoken by the people in their everyday conversation and even though most people understood ‘Lashon HaKodesh’(The Holy Tongue) to a degree, it was not as universally understood as Aramaic. It follows, therefore, that for us today, those parts of the Haggadah that are in Aramaic should be said in English, with the English read at least as prominently as the Aramaic to fulfil the intention of the ‘Anshei Knesset HaGedolah’ that everyone should understand clearly what is being said. So use a Haggadah with a good English translation. Likewise, the one who leads the Seder should all the time explain and elucidate the narrative of our time in Egypt and our Deliverance, or delegate this to someone else who can.
In fact, it is a good idea for all the narrative parts of the Haggadah to be translated at the Seder. Depending on the participants and obviously always taking care not to cause any embarrassment, some families have the custom that each person at the table has a turn to read the translation of the Haggadah. Some even share out the Haggadah in advance to give a chance to the participants to rehearse their paragraphs with the translation. The main thing is that everybody should be involved. The one who leads the Seder should generally keep things moving along nicely, very much like the conductor of an orchestra, inviting those who wish to do so to add Midrashim, comments or explanations to each paragraph as it is read. All of this, everything that brings alive our Egyptian experience, is the Mitzvah “to tell” on the Seder Night.
Here in ‘Chutz la’Aretz’ we are lucky to have two Sedarrim. In fact, it’s hard to understand how our brothers in Israel manage to tell everything in the course of only one Seder Night! The Seder is the only time in the entire year that we have a Mitzvah to retell and recount our Egyptian experience. There’s so much to tell, and the more one tells, so much is the narrator praiseworthy!
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Aron Kodesh designed by MARCUS K GLASS 1929/1930 when the building was converted from a Victorian Gymnasium. Holland Road Synagogue is believed to be the only remaining active synagogue designed by this remarkable architect.
Shabbat 10th July • 18 Tammuz
Shabbat 11th July • 19 Tammuz
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