Why is this festival different from all other festivals?
By Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sufrin, Chabad of Clarksville
The highlight of Passover, the Seder, requires us to make our children the center of attention. Although we make a point of involving our children during all other festivals, only Passover requires the participation of the children and makes them the featured center of the Seder.
While the importance of giving over the message of Passover to our children is self-understood, why does the Passover message seem more important for the children than the messages carried by other festivals?
One explanation given is that while we want to teach our children a certain message on each holiday, on Passover we are taking a message from our children (perhaps this is because we are reenacting the Exodus, a time of our nation's youth).
Adults may have a monopoly on maturity, experience, and wisdom, but in the realm of truth, they have much to learn from the young. Being that adults lead such complex lives, their decisions are inevitably colored by many factors: how will this affect my career, my family, my vacation plans or social status? The youth on the other hand naturally seek truth, and when they find it -- or when they think they found it -- they will leave all else behind and follow their inner compass. There's nothing binding them to any one particular course and they are ready to change course at the drop of a hat.
On Passover, the Jews exhibited a youthful disposition. They were willing to leave behind their previous lifestyle, homeland and habits, to chase the truth in a barren desert.
In our personal lives we, too, seek liberation. We wish to experience true freedom, to escape the many bonds of habit and nature which limit us. The lesson we learn from Passover is that to experience liberation we must reconnect with our inner child. As long as we refuse to make the big leap, to completely disengage from our past, we will never be truly free.
This is especially true with regard to our pursuit of spirituality. Leading a truly spiritual life demands the courage to make a complete reversal -- to follow G‑d "into the desert," leaving behind a lifestyle that we may have been comfortable (but not happy) with, and jumping into G‑d's embrace through complete dedication to His Torah and Mitzvos.
It's great to be an adult with the maturity, wisdom, and experience. However, it is only worth it if these qualities assist us (and not impede us) in our quest for freedom.
Wishing you the traditional wish of a "kosher and festive Passover"--may you have a joyful and liberating Pesach!