As the holiday of Pesach approaches there are many things on our “list” of preparations but we should also ready ourselves for this special day.
Allow me to offer you some food for thought . We are commanded to eat Maror (Bitter herbs) on the night of the Seder. Nothing could be more peculiar than this. On the night of our freedom we are instructed to remind ourselves of the bondage and persecution we suffered in Egypt. On the Fourth of July nobody would think to drink tea to remember the taxes the British levied on the people at the time. What is the purpose of putting a little bit of bitterness into our festival?
This trait can be found also by The Holy One Blessed Be He. The verse tells us that the Elders of Israel saw a prophetic vision that under the throne of Hashem was a sapphire brick and a clear beautiful sky (Exodus 24 v10). Rashi comments that the brick is a “souvenir” of the slavery of Egypt and the sky is significant of the redemption. The same question can be asked here, why does The Holy One Blessed Be He keep such a brick?
There are many answers to this issue but allow me to iterate just one of them. The concept of suffering in Jewish thought is not a cruel or negative idea but rather it is sometimes needed to reach a goal that otherwise could not be reached. To become the nation that will be the source of all other religions in the world and of moral and social conduct to the whole world one must be a convinced believer in Hashem. The way to come to that level is through a seemingly disappearance of Hashem’s providence from us. If we still follow him we are the ones who are able to carry out this mission that he has set out for us.
With this in mind it is very clear as to why bitterness has a role to play in this holiday. It is an integral part of our redemption because without it we would not have reached the levels of conviction to Hashem. The lesson for our day and time is that whatever happens to us whether it be for the good or for the bad (seemingly), is the hand of Hashem guiding us along to get to were we have to get to.