My son was recently awarded the game ball in his Little League. He put the ball in a glass case and proudly displayed it in the living room. Last week, we found the case shattered and asked him why he did not properly take care of his prized possession. He told us this: “It’s really too hard too explain.” After a bit of hesitation, the truth came out.
For his model Seder, his teacher asked the students to bring a pillowcase filled with items that felt important to them. As slaves in Egypt, they could only leave with so much. Our son brought his framed baseball. Yet, while leaving Egypt in haste, the glass cracked, and he was left with a shattered case.
This was not the story that we were expecting, but it truly is the story of Passover. If we were slaves in Egypt and could only bring a pillowcase worth of valuables, what would we bring? What was going to be significant to share with the next generation?
There is an argument in the Haggadah of how long we should take to tell the Passover story.
One opinion teaches that we must tell the story of the Exodus all night long. There is no time limit. However, we learn elsewhere that we must eat the Afikoman by midnight, and the alarm has sounded. Thankfully, we learn that the time limit refers to eating the matzah and maror, but recalling the miracles of Passover must be a continuous process, so much so that the Haggadah reads, “One who speaks about the Exodus at length all night is praiseworthy!”
As a second grader, our son sees his baseball as a significant piece of his life. As he grows older and sits at the Seder table each year, he will see that we have no artifact lasting from those days in Egypt, but we have the story that continues to be told generation after generation.
Tonight, the food will taste delicious and the wine will be sweet. Most importantly, the story will be told once again, keeping alive the Exodus once again.