Passover Seder Modern Relevance

In every English version of the Haggadah that I have seen, there is one word that is always translated incorrectly.

When listing the Ten Plagues that smote the Egyptians, second one in Hebrew is called Tzefardeya. This is always translated as Frogs. But the original Hebrew is in the singular. The translation should be Frog.

Now indeed, it is a little awkward to translate it literally. One frog hopping around does not seem like much of a plague. And to be fair, in many languages the singular form can denote a group, so perhaps Frog can mean Frogs. But there must be a reason why the Haggadah calls this plague the plague of a frog. Lice is in plural, so why is frog singular?

The talmudic tradition answers that actually, the plague of frogs started with one single frog. A large frog emerged from the Nile River. The Egyptians saw it, and knowing that Moses had warned them there would be a plague of frogs, attacked the giant frog with sticks. As they struck the frog, it started spewing hundreds and thousands of little frogs, which quickly spread over the entire land. The more they hit, the more frogs appeared.

So indeed the plague started with a frog singular. It was the Egyptian reaction that caused frogs plural.

Those foolish Egyptians were attacking the frog, but ignoring its root cause. The plagues were only coming because the Egyptians refused to let the Israelites go free. But rather than taking a hard look at themselves and changing their cruel behavior, the Egyptians looked at this big frog and tried to kill it. Which only led to more frogs.

There is a deep message behind this rather odd episode. Because so often we do the same silly thing as those Egyptians did.

We lose patience with our kids who are misbehaving, while the main reason for their playing up is because we don’t have patience to really listen to them in the first place.

We exacerbate issues unnecessarily by replying to all… in ALL CAPS

You get my drift… We hit these frogs, and all we get is more frogs.

Rabbi Menachem M Bluming Chabad.org and Rabbi Moss

What Makes the Seder Night Different

The key to the powerful treasure of the Seder is shared in the Four Questions

On all other nights we don’t dip in but tonight we do, twice…

Some of us go through life without ever being present, without dipping in. We may be sitting in one place, but our mind is elsewhere. We are constantly focusing on what needs to happen next, or where we would rather be, and never experiencing the moment for what it is.

Hold on I’ve got to grab this call and get to this text, I’ll be right with you…

We can miss out on the magic of today, simply because we are distracted. Tonight will be different. Tonight we will immerse ourselves in the moment, and be totally transfixed by the Seder and its message. We will dip ourselves entirely in the words of the Haggadah.

Not once but twice – in time and in mind we will be fully present at the Seder to find freedom by remembering who we are and where we are going and what this life is all about…

Menachem M Bluming and Chabad.org