There’s no choice. We’re stuck at home, between the kids and the computers, between the kitchen and the living room. Meanwhile, in this week’s parshah, we go out from slavery to freedom – but are suddenly at home.
It sounds strange. Immediately upon leaving Egypt, at the moment of our liberation, G-d tells Moshe to tell people to enter their homes so that every family can hold the first Pesach seder in history. Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriah offers an explanation for this command, in words that may help us during the extended lockdown:
“It’s the way of the world: In the days of radical change and revolution, everyone is swept outside. Private matters are pushed off, family life does not merit any attention, no one thinks it’s time to invest in the home.
“The Exodus from Egypt is different. One of the first mitzvot commanded in the midst of the drama of leaving slavery for freedom is to gather at home and eat a sacrificial lamb as part of the first Seder in history, even while still in Egyptian territory.
“The command is to leave the mass excitement in the streets and the marketplaces behind – and to go into your private tent. Each family is to eat alone, exclusively, at home. Even public figures are ordered to leave the masses at this time for the sake of the first family feast to celebrate liberation as a free and royal people.
“In order for balance to be achieved for the entire nation, balance must first be established in the private domain.”
(translation by Yehoshua Siskin)