updated b

Throw a Frog at Story Time

From the Zohar (p.40b)

Translation (in big letters)
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)


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