By Rabbi Morris Lichtenstein
Passover was the first festival celebrated by the Jewish people. It commemorates the earliest national event in Jewish history- the emancipation of the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt.
The story of Passover is intended to remind us of another great fact. Observe that the Scriptures say: “And the children of Israel signed by reason of their bondage, and they cried, and their cry came unto God.” How significant is that passage! When they found themselves helpless, they appealed to God for help. There is an infinite source of help, standing in the background, ready to help, but waiting for man to seek His help. When they cried unto God, He heard their cry and He brought them out of slavery into freedom. He changed their lot from sorrow to joy, from darkness to light, He made of them a free people. And so the Passover tells us that even in the deepest darkness there is no cause for despair, no reason for despondency and hopelessness; for the Infinite Source of help is always there. God has bound Himself to deliver man from his distress.
Now, what is true of the life of a people is also true of the life of an individual. It is seldom that life expresses itself as an endless summer, with sunshine, bright skies, and growth, in continuous abundance. Life has difficulties, it has problems, it has even its critical stages, its periods of darkness. But never is there cause for man to despair and say: I am lost. For through God emancipation is always at hand. With God restoration is natural, freedom and joy can always be regained; God has bound Himself to deliver man from his distress.
God delivered our forefathers from Egypt because of His goodness, because of His love and His tender care of those whom He called into being. He delivered them also because they called for His deliverance. God knew of their suffering, but He waited for them to seek His aid, He waited for them to become aware of His Presence and direct their prayer to Him. When the children of Israel cried unto Him in their distress, He immediately turned to them. And God, because of His goodness and His loving care, delivers not only the multitude but also the individual. But individual, too, must seek divine help in order to receive it; man must be conscious of God’s Presence, and seek His aid, and then he may be assured that God will come to his aid. For He has bound Himself to deliver His children who call upon Him.