Pesah: G-d’s Symphony
אם נא מצאתי חן בעיניך הודעני נא את דרכך
ואדעך למען אמצא חן בעיניך
“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you.”
Moses moulded Pesah. An Egyptian prince exiled in Midian—chosen beside the burning bush—Moses led a campaign of civil disobedience against Pharaoh, strengthened by G-d’s dark angels of the plague. After nine setbacks, the tenth most terrible plague brought Israelite independence. The closing of the waters over Pharaoh’s hosts ended further discussion.
The Exodus from Egypt is rightly celebrated as a momentous event, and Pesah has become the supreme family festival. However, Moses saw his success for what it was—an overture—an orchestral piece that set a mood but conveyed no blueprint for life. Only when the singing begins, and the libretto of Torah is revealed, does the story make full sense.
G-d chose only to reveal his Torah to a free people—slaves are not free to choose the laws they obey. Therefore, Pesah was absolutely necessary.
But Moses greatest work is his patient negotiation with G-d after the Tablets of the Law had been smashed—after the Golden Calf. His abracadabra—the magic words of Moses that turned G-d’s anger—are his prayer, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you.” Like Abraham negotiating with G-d, like Jacob battling the night angel, Moses prevails. The Lord concedes—“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
For his persistent negotiation—for his steady nerve—Moses is rewarded with the land, with the written law AND with the oral law.
Like Moses, we must recognise Pesah with its feasting as a wonderful prelude. We should enjoy the interval. But we should return to our seats for the next acts, when the life-enhancing finale builds the house up, makes sense of it all, and brings the house down.