This marror we eat, what is it for?
They embittered our lives with hard labor…
Why on earth would we want to remember THAT part?! I’d prefer to remember the ending, thank you very much.
Now I obviously have to remember that I was a slave if I have to remember that I was freed from slavery. But why do I have to taste it?
The answer to this question is also the answer to one of the deepest philosophical questions that exist. Namely, how do we know what we know? The study of how we know what we know is called epistemology. Most of the discussion on this topic focuses on the senses, reason, emotion, prophecy, intuition, Kantian “noumena” etc.
But even if none of those words make sense to you, there is something all of us know and experience, whether we know that we know it or not: All knowledge and wisdom is acquired via comparison to previous things learned. Only the first datum had no priors. Every other thing is not only another piece of data, but also something that by comparison to the first thing enhances knowledge of that first thing.
If I know thing 1, that’s one thing I know.
If I now learn thing 2, I know
With thing 3, it increases in ways I’ll refrain from listing for now.
This is why metaphors are so important. The power of comparing and contrasting forces the mind to develop concepts, thesis, antithesis, synthesis, the development of concrete facts into theories, ideas, opinions etc.
Studies have shown conclusively that when offered the option of
either earning $100K/year while everyone else earns $200K/year,
or earning $50K/year equally with everyone else,
the vast majority of people prefer the second option.
This is because people’s inherent perceptions of fairness, or worth, are related to the faculty of comparison, not objective numbers.
Concepts like Geula, redemption, and freedom, can only register in a mind that understands their opposites. Pesach and Matza can only be appreciated in a context of some bitterness.
לפיכך אנו חייבים להודות להלל לשבח לפאר לרומם לגדל ולהדר, ולנצח ולברך למי שעשה לנו ולאבותינו את כל הניסים האלו,
והוציאנו מעבדות לחירות,
ומאבל ליום טוב,
ומאפילה לאור גדול;
ונאמר לפניו, הללו יה