Torah Portion: Bo
You must tell your son, on that day, “It is because of this that Hashem acted for me when I left Egypt.” (Shemos 13:8).
It is a positive commandment to recount about the departure from Egypt, on the evening of the fifteenth of Nissan, each person according to his eloquence, and to laud and praise the Hashem all the miracles He did for us there, as it says: You must tell your son etc. (Shemos 13:8). The Sages explain that this mitzvah of recounting about the Exodus is to be fulfilled on the evening of the fifteenth of Nissan, at the time the matzah is eaten. As to Scripture’s expression, your “son,” it does not mean necessarily one’s son, but actually any person.
The essence of the commandment is that one recalls the miracles and the events that occurred for our forefathers in connection with the Exodus from Egypt, and how God took revenge upon [the Egyptians] for us. If no other people are present, it is nevertheless a mitzvah to recount this to himself, and he is obligated to speak the words with his mouth, so that his heart will be inspired about the matter; for by speech the heart is aroused.
Among the roots of this commandment: It is so that we remember forever the miracles that were done for us when we departed Egypt.
Do not wonder about why we were given so many commandments regarding the remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt, for it is a great foundation and a mighty pillar in our Torah and in our faith. This is why we so often mention in our blessings and our prayers, “a memorial of the Exodus from Egypt”: because it is a full indication and proof of the creation of the world out of non-existence, and that there is an Eternal God Who has will and power. It is He Who gives existence to everything and in whose power it lies to change them as He may wish, at any particular time, just as He did in Egypt, when He altered the world’s ways of nature for our sake, and performed for us unprecedented, great and mighty signs. This silences everyone who denies the creation of the world out of non-existence, and it affirms faith in the knowledge of the Hashem, may He be blessed, and that His Providence and power extend to all groups and individuals.
This commandment applies to both men and women, in all places and at all times. One who transgresses this prohibition violates a positive commandment.