Telling the Real Story

Dena Weiss

The Mishnah in Pesahim provides a basic framework for how to tell the Pesah story, “beginning with degradation and ending in praise” (Mishnah Pesahim 10:4). This is a helpful guideline for the telling of any story; listeners like to hear a story of triumph and victory. The overcoming of adversity increases the dramatic tension. But at the Pesah seder, we aren’t telling people stories that they don’t know; there is no real element of suspense. Even the children who do not know why we lean or why we dip twice know that in the end of the story, everything turns out alright. If we hadn’t been redeemed, we would not be alive to hear and tell the story. So why do we need to start in the low place? Why don’t we just start the Seder with Hallel, praising God for our freedom?