On the verse “He tells His words to Jacob, His laws and ordinances to Israel” our Sages comment: “That which G-d does, He tells Israel to do.” Conversely, G-d himself fulfills the same precepts He commands the Jewish people to fulfill. It follows, then, that on the night of the Passover seder G-d “reads” the Hagada along with us, albeit in a higher, more spiritual sense.
The Hagada begins with the words “This is the bread of affliction.” This opening section makes three points:
This is the bread of affliction (matza) that our forefathers ate in Egypt. Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat; whoever is in need, let him come and conduct the Passover seder.
This year we are here; next year in the land of Israel. This year we are slaves, next year we will be free people.
The Jewish people are not alone in their exile; G-d is in exile with them. The inner meaning of exile and “affliction” is a lack of understanding and perception of G-dliness; indeed, the entire concept of exile is none other than the concealment of the true G-dliness that sustains the world.
G-d fills the entire universe; the reason we cannot see this openly is because the Divine Presence is in exile. Thus, “This is the bread of affliction” refers to the phenomenon of exile, “which our forefathers (avot — symbolic, in Chasidic philosophy, of human understanding and intellect) ate in the land of Egypt”. (Mitzrayim — from the Hebrew meaning limitation, i.e., within the limitations imposed by the physical world.)
Next, G-d gives us His “recipe” for redemption: “Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat.” I promise, G-d declares, that whoever is hungry for the truth, for the light of My holy Torah, will have his spiritual hunger sated.
“Whoever is in need, let him come.” Even a person who is already knowledgeable and well-versed in Jewish teachings will be blessed with a richness of understanding, just as the Paschal sacrifice was eaten only after the meal, on a full stomach.
This “richness” leads to the third point: Even though we are now “here,” in exile, “next year in the land of Israel” — we will be in a state of redemption. Not that we will have to wait an entire year for Moshiach to come, G-d forbid, but the Redemption will occur “in the blink of an eye,” and by this time next year we will have long since been “in the land of Israel.”
“This year we are slaves, next year we will be free people.” In the Messianic Era we will experience the ultimate liberation, for Moshiach will uncover the true and inner essence of every Jew, and the entire world will attain its ultimate freedom. Moshiach NOW!!!