"And G-d descended upon Mount Sinai." (19:20)
In the Haggadah of Pesach we say "Had He brought us before Mount Sinai and not given us the Torah, dayeinu -- It would have sufficed us." Of what value would Mount Sinai be without the Torah?
The Torah consists of 613 mitzvot, and the word Torah has the numerical value of 611. The first two commandments were uttered by Hashem Himself, unlike the rest of the Torah, which was given through Moshe. Thus we proclaim, "Had He brought us before Mount Sinai only to hear from G-d Himself the two commandments and not given us the Torah (the other 611 mitzvot), it would have sufficed us."
Festivals in Peace
During the seder we say, "May G-d...bring us to other future festivals in peace." Many Jewish holidays commemorate terrible edicts and decrees that were averted at the last minute; we beg G-d to give us cause for celebration of an entirely different nature, "festivals in peace," unconnected to troubles and woe of any kind!
"This is the bread of affliction"
Before we begin to recite the Hagada the following announcement is made: "May all who are hungry come and eat." As "all Jews are guarantors of one another," no Jew can be truly free as long as his brother remains in servitude. Accordingly, our first obligation is to invite our less fortunate brethren to partake of the meal; only then can we properly observe the seder and go out of exile.
"Here, the son asks"
Said Rabbi Aaron of Stolin, in the name of his father, Rabbi Asher:
"Here" -- the night of the seder -- is an auspicious time for every Jewish "son" to "ask" his Father in Heaven for all his needs, and to receive His blessings in abundance.
"For not only one stood against us to destroy us"
Why have our enemies sought to destroy us? Because we were "not only one." Lack of unity among the Jewish people is the primary cause of all our troubles.
"Blessed is the Omnipresent One" ("Makom," literally "Place")
Why is G-d referred to as "Place"? Because in truth, the world is "located" in G-d; G-d is not merely "located" in the world...
During the year, the first letters of the Hebrew word "karpas" stand for "klal rishon peh sagur" -- "the first principle is to keep one's mouth closed." On Pesach, however, they stand for "klal rishon peh sach" -- "the first principle is to have a mouth that talks," i.e., to relate the story of the Exodus at the Passover seder.
On Passover, before we begin the recitation of the story of the exodus, we announce, "Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat; whoever is in need, let him come and conduct the seder of Passover."
Everyone is invited to sit with us at the Passover table, not just family members and good friends. With true love for our brethren all Jews are included in our invitation, without regard for external differences.
So too was it when Moses appealed to Pharaoh to free the Jewish people. The first condition he stated was "with our youth and with our elders we will go; with our sons and with our daughters." All Jews left Egypt together as one; all of the tribes were included, and not even a single Jew was left behind in exile. When the exact moment for redemption arrived the entire Jewish people was liberated.
Passover Year 'round
It is a mitzva to recall the exodus from Egypt every day. When we celebrate Passover properly, its influence extends throughout the year. In such a manner are we liberated from all our inner and outer limitations and we are free to carry out our G-dly mission: the observance of Torah and mitzvot.
Adapted for Maayan Chai from Likutei Sichot, vol. 22
"Now we are here", "Now we are slaves"
Now we are here; next year may we be in the Land of Israel.
Now we are slaves; next year may we be free men.
These are two separate requests: First, may we be in the Land of Israel by this time next year, and second, may we be free men at that time. For it is indeed possible to live in the Holy Land and remain enslaved.
The seder plate: the roasted egg
In addition to being a reminder of the Passover offering, the roasted egg is a symbol of the Jewish people.
The longer other foods are cooked, the softer and more tender they become, but the longer an egg is boiled, the harder it gets.
Similarly, the more painful and severe the hardships of the exile, the stronger and more resilient the Jewish people emerges.
"G-d, our L-rd brought us out from there"
The redemption from Egypt came as an act of Divine beneficence, and not as a result of the Divine service of the Jewish people.
To compensate for this lack of service, there were subsequent exiles in which the redemption depended on the Jews' efforts.
(Lubavitcher Rebbe, shlita)
"'All the days of your life' as including the Era of Moshiach"
Le'havi translated as "including" literally means "to bring."
Thus, this Talmudic passage, quoted in the Hagada, can be interpreted as a directive: All the days of your life should be permeated by a single intention: to bring about the coming of the Era of Moshiach.
(Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe)
The custom of a goblet for Elijah is first mentioned by our rabbis of the 16th century. Why is this so?
This custom is an expression of the Jews' belief in the coming of Moshiach and Elijah, who will herald the imminent Redemption.
The closer we are to the time of the Redemption, the more keenly is this faithful anticipation felt in the heart of every Jew.