It seems that dipping is an
important part of the Passover Seder. We dip the vegetable in salt water, and
we dip the bitter herb in charoset. II'm looking for something deeper
know the salt water represents the tears shed by the Israelite slaves, and the charoset represents the mortar they were
forced to make. But I am looking for something deeper, perhaps the overarching
theme of both dippings and what they mean. Any leads?
The Israelites in Egypt suffered
greatly. And while we can never fully understand the meaning of suffering, the
Kabbalists have taught that sometimes we suffer in one lifetime in order to
correct something from a past life. This was the case with the Jews in Egypt.
The great Kabbalist known as the
Arizal taught that the Israelites in Egypt were reincarnations of two previous
generations: the generation of the Great Flood and the generation that built
the Tower of Babel. This is why we see clear parallels between them. Just like
the generation of the Flood, Israelites were drowned in the Nile River. And
just like the builders of the Tower of Babel, the Israelites had to make bricks
and build buildings.
Reincarnation is the spiritual
system by which we can correct past wrongs. Those two generations did evil, but
in different ways. In the times of the Flood, people were violent, dishonest
and corrupt. Their sins were primarily against their fellow human beings. In
the times of the Tower of Babel, however, they treated each other kindly. Their
sin was against G‑d. They believed that humanity could exist without a higher
cause. The purpose of their tower was to take over the heavens and supplant
Divine power with human power.
These two mistakes are still made
today. There are those who believe that you can be a good person without being
religious. As long as you are nice to people, as long as you don't hurt anyone,
you are a good person and don't need a higher authority in your life.
There are others who believe that
as long as you pray to G‑d and follow religious rituals, it doesn't matter how
you treat other people. You can be religious without being good.
Both are wrong. Being religious
without being good makes no sense at all. If you love G‑d, then you love His
children. Every human is made in G‑d's image, and so you cannot honor G‑d if
you dishonor humanity. You can't pray to the G‑d that tells you to love your
fellow as yourself and then treat your fellow like dirt.
But the other way is wrong too.
You can't be good without G‑d, because without G‑d the word “good” is meaningless.
There can be no such thing as absolute good without an absolute source. If
morality is relative, then it can be defined however I want it to be defined.Anything can be justified
There can be no objective definition of right and wrong, only opinions. And
without absolute morality, without an ultimate definition of good and evil, we
each just fit morality into our preconceptions. Anything can be justified.
The Israelites were the first to
recognize that living a Divine life means living a good life, and that in order
to know what “good” is you need G‑d. Unlike the generation of the Flood, who
disregarded human decency, and unlike the generation of the Tower of Babel, who
rejected Divine authority, the Israelites survived Egypt to establish a new
society based on G‑d-given goodness.
And so, at the Seder table, we
have a reminder of these two misguided generations: the salt water that
commemorates the floodwaters, and the charoset
that represents the bricks that built the tower. We have seen the tragic
consequences of dividing between G‑d and good. We must ensure that the two