Dear Readers,

Have you ever wondered why we focus so much on children on Passover?

Every parent-child relationship (in normal circumstances) is filled with an outpouring of unbreakable love. But there is something extra-special about a parent’s relationship with a very young child or infant.

Watch a parent lovingly caress their newborn, waking up at all hours of the night to tend to the child’s many needs. In those first months of life, the newborn doesn’t acknowledge and has yet to learn how to smile, communicate or even gaze knowingly at their parent.

Eventually, the baby grows up and is able to give back in the form of talking or laughing, hugging or kissing, and can even do small things to show their gratitude. But in those initial stages, the relationship is only about the parent giving and the child taking.

But the parent isn’t giving because of their child’s particular capabilities, talents or cognitive abilities. The parent gives simply because of their unconditional love.

There are many metaphors that are used to describe G‑d’s relationship with the Jewish people. Sometimes, we are called G‑d’s bride; other times, G‑d’s children; sometimes, G‑d is our Spouse, Shepherd, Master and more. While each metaphor brings out something unique, the parent-child relationship demonstrates the aspect of unreserved giving.

This was especially evident at the holiday of Passover. Emerging from Egypt, we had not yet received the Torah and were in our infancy, being “born” as G‑d’s chosen nation. Spiritually, we were at a very low level, steeped in immorality. And yet, despite how much we were lacking, G‑d showed unrestricted love, choosing us as His nation, redeeming us from our bondage and gifting us with the precious Torah. G‑d’s love was like a parent to their newborn.

“On the day you were born,” says Ezekiel regarding our ancestor as the time of Exodus, “your navel was not cut, neither were you washed with water for cleansing, nor were you salted, nor swaddled at all.”

G‑d cared for us like a doting parent coddles a newborn.

Perhaps that is why on Passover, we emphasize the role of children. On every holiday, children are encouraged to participate, but this is most noticeable on Passover, when children hold a central role. The majority of the Seder is directed to them.

In doing so, we are showing that at the core of our relationship, each of us is that child. On Passover, G‑d reached out to each of us and showed us that His love is inherent.

The Rebbe, whose birthday falls this week on the 11 of Nissan, constantly reminded us of the beloved stature of every Jew, irrespective of their age, status or level of practice.

Once we can begin to fathom the depth of this outpouring of love, we can (and should) be motivated to move forward and “reciprocate” in doing our part to please G‑d. But at our core must be the awareness that G‑d’s love for us is steadfast and constant. Beni bechori Yisroel, You, Israel are My beloved firstborn.

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW