B"H

Written by Yisroel M. Silverstein

Pesach 5758:

The beginning of the hagadah starts of with the words "Ha lachma anya…" which means this is the poor mans bread which our forefathers ate in Egypt. The question

which one may ask (as this is night full of questions) is what does this have to do with the geula our salvation from Egypt?

The sefer "eil hamiluim" brings a parable to explain this point.

A certain king once went hunting in a nearby forest; on his way he met a young shepherd and started a conversation with him. After realizing that he was speaking

to a very clever and smart young man he offered him a position in the palace which

the shepherd excepted on the spot. Years past by and the young man rose to a high position in the palace until the king appointed him as the country's treasurer.

There were many in the palace courtyards who were jealous of the young ministers

success, these ministers would come daily to the king and would bring up suspicions

of embezzlement by the young minister. At first the king refused to believe these suspicions, but as they continued daily he decided to check them out.

One morning the king arrived at the young minister's house with his entourage.

They entered the house and made a thorough check of the house and to their surprise

they found only very simple and modest surroundings. The ministers were very

disappointed until they reached a side room which was locked, they were sure that they finally found the ministers secret hiding place. The minister begged them not to make him open the door but the ministers pressed on the king to force him to open the door and the king gave his consent. To there astonishment they found not valuables but a stick, flute and knapsack.

The young minister started to explain: from the first day I met the king I have always been afraid that I might fall in to the trap of haughtiness and arrogance, for that very reason I set aside this room in which every morning I enter it and don my knapsack

hold the stick in my hand and play the flute in order not to forget that I am only a simple shepherd and only with Hashem's help did the king bring me to the palace. After hearing these words from the young minister the king and the ministers asked for forgiveness and left in disgrace.

It is possible that this the reason that we start the seder with "ha lachma anya",

to remind those who might think that we came out of Egypt on our own, that we were poor slaves and only with Hashem's mercy did we leave Egypt. This concept we see through-out the whole hagadah and Pesach and we also can see this in the name of the chag-chag hamatzot the same matzah, which our forefathers ate in Egypt.

Chag kasher v'sameach!