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The Meaning of Dippings

The Meaning of Dippings

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Question:

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?

Answer:

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 never part.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Bruno Karys April 15, 2017

Excellent point. It's nice to know that kabbala believe in reincarnation. I too believe it. Only reincarnation explains why some people are so blessed (smart, rich, healthy) and some are so "cursed" (born without limbs, miserables, mental disabilities and so on). People that are exceptionally good in some area, have studied that area in a previous life. The scriptures taught us this:" to each one according to his works. Not even a glass of water will be forgotten. "
By the way, on the other part of the subject, I recommend the PragerU's video :" if God doesn't exist, then murder isn't wrong ".
Shalom. Reply

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