For the past 3,200 years we Jews have retold the story of how a “mixed multitude” of slaves went forth to freedom. But not only is this a story of the past; it speaks to the present also. The values and ideals of Passover continue to be at the heart of Jewish identity, and at the core of the vision that we Jews still bring to the world: a vision of a just and free world wherein none are oppressed and where none go hungry and hopeless. Yes, it was from our experience in Egypt that we learned the ideals of “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” and “you shall remember the heart of the stranger for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
An interesting and compelling aspect of the Passover story: The word Mitzraim which is translated as “Egypt” also means “narrow” or “confined” straits. Thus the “Egypt” of Passover refers not only to going forth from ancient Egypt, but from any situation in which we may feel ourselves confined, if not enslaved.
We pray to God for life, for blessing. But to be a Jew is to know that the first step toward redemption and rebirth is one that we must take for ourselves. So do I wish you the strength and courage to take that “step” for yourself and thereby pursue your own journey to the “Promised Land” of your hopes and visions.