Compiled by Dina Fraenkel
There is a special connection between the holiday of Pesach and Jewish children. The connection between Pesach and children is readily apparent, as the Haggadah states, “When your son will ask you…”1
Even while B’nei Yisroel were slaves in Egypt, the children were so connected to Hashem that they recognized Hashem first at the Splitting of the Sea. On the holiday of Pesach itself, the children are the ones who take the lead, asking the Four Questions, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Just as by the shores of the sea, the parents follow the children’s lead and today the father answers the questions, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt…”
From this we can see the connection of children to Torah and mitzvos every day. All Jewish children are part of Tzivos Hashem, the Army of Hashem, and they have a pure connection to their Commander-in-Chief, Hashem, and His mitzvos. Just like the Ben Chocham, the wise son in the Haggadah, our wise Jewish children ask, “What is the lesson or purpose and goal of these mitzvos which I did?” The answer to our children is found in the Haggadah.
“We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and the L-rd our G-d took us out from there with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm. If the Holy One, Blessed be He, had not taken our fathers out of Egypt, then we, our children, and our children’s children would have remained enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt…Thus it is our duty to thank, to laud, to praise, to glorify, to exalt, to adore, to bless, to elevate, and to honor the One who did all these miracles for our fathers and for us. He took us from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to joy, and from mourning to festivity and from deep darkness to great light and from bondage to redemption.”
Hashem brought us from slavery to freedom, from darkness to light, and set us apart from all the other nations and gave us His mitzvos. As we say in the Haggadah, “The Jews should rejoice in their Maker…” all of us, especially the children, and especially on Pesach, strive to perform mitzvos with joy and happiness.
On Pesach we also strive to be free from the yetzer hora (Evil Inclination) who is Pharaoh’s agent. Just as Pharaoh wanted to destroy the Jewish children and enslave them to his way of life, as we saw when he ordered the boys drowned in the Nile and allowed the girls to live (to be inculcated in the Egyptian way of life), the yetzer hora strives to persuade us against doing mitzvos. The Haggadah states that Hashem brought us out of Egypt “… with war and with a strong hand and an outstretched arm.” Each of us, led by the children, has to fight the yetzer hora the same way and drown the yetzer hora as Pharaoh’s army was drowned in the sea.
When we win this Great War and keep Torah and mitzvos with true freedom and joy, we will march “with our youth and our elders, our sons and daughters,” to the Final Redemption to serve Hashem in the Beis HaMikdash HaShlishi in Yerushalayim. May it come to be speedily in our days.
From a talk given on 18 Nissan 5745 by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who often spoke publicly to children around the Yomim Tovim.