Throw a Frog at Story Time
From the Zohar (p.40b)
and commentary (in smaller letters) by Simcha Treister
The telling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt is one of the most
important parts of Seder Night. The telling should be lively, real and
happy - and may be in the language one is accustomed too. The Zohar teaches
us the following:
It is an obligation of every person to tell the story
of the leaving of Egypt with praise, and this is a mitzva that applies
for all time. This is as we have explained, because every person who tells
the story of the exodus from Egypt, and rejoices happily in the telling
of it, will be invited in the future to rejoice with the Shechina.
By telling the story in a joyous manner, we arouse the sefira of bina,
which is the source of all happiness. This causes the sefira of malchut
to also become full of joy because bina directly influences that sefira.
As a reward for having caused the Shechina to be unified even while she
is in exile, that person will rewarded by having a part in her joy at
the time of the ultimate redemption.
This [joy at the time of the ultimate redemption]
will be greater than all other joy. This is a person who
has rejoiced in his Master.
A person telling of the miracles of the Exodus from Egypt in happiness,
as if he was the one who was freed, renews those higher lights of rejoicing
that were revealed back in time at the original Exodus. That is why the
Zohar uses the Hebrew word "sippur", meaning "story",
to describe the reciting of the Pesach Haggada; the word "sippur"
is related to the word for the gems "sapphires", in Hebrew "sapirim",
which sparkle extraordinarily. The English word "sapphire" is
related to this root, and the word "fire", which is hidden in
the word "sapphire", relates back to the way in which these
jewels refract the light. Putting fire in the way you tell the story makes
it sparkle, and this shine reflects the original joy hidden in the roots
of the soul. We even reflect this in the greeting "Happy Pesach".
Pesach can be read as two Hebrew words: "pei-", meaning "mouth"
and "-sach", meaning "speaks". This refers to the
mitzvah of reciting the story of the Exodus. Thus we greet each other
with the blessing to rejoice in the telling of the story of Exodus in
a happy manner!
The Holy One blessed be He, rejoices in that story, and
at the same time [as the Jewish people are telling it]
gathers all the myriad angels above and tells them, "Go and listen
to the story praising Me, that my children are telling in their rejoicing
at my redeeming them".
The spiritual world is above time, yet relates to time as we know it.
By recalling these immensely important events on the anniversary of their
occurrence, we connect to their original power and cause an echo effect
in the spiritual realms.
Then all [the angels] gather together with Israel and
listen to the joyous reciting of the story praising the redemption by
their Master. Then they go up and give thanks and praise to the Holy One
blessed be He for all of those miracles and wonders [that He did for Israel].
They also give thanks and praise for the holy people that He has on the
earth, who rejoice and are happy in the redemption of their Master.
Then power and might are gathered to Him on high and Israel,
through [relating] that story giving power to their Master. This is like
a King whose power and might are increased when [his subjects] praise
his majesty and give thanks to him. Then all [his enemies] fear him and
his honor is raised above them all.
The external forces to the Holy, the chitzonim, are nullified
by the great light that emanates from the higher sefirot as they shine
in response to Israel's praise below in the physical world. This is also
hinted at in the word "sipur" since it shares the same
root as the word sefirot.
Because [of this effect in the spiritual realm]
a person should give praise and tell this [Pesach] story
in the manner we have taught.
(Translated by Shmuel-Simcha Triester, Ascent of Safed)