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Retelling the Story (#BlogExodus, Day 2)

Retelling the Story (#BlogExodus, Day 2)

The movie Big Fish by Tim Burton is the story of the relationship between a father and son over a lifetime. The father is famous for telling fantastical stories about his experiences. Given an opening, he will jump in telling tall tales that become more and more improbable. As a boy, the son loves every minute of it. As a teen, the son tolerates it. As an adult, the son can't stand it. Why doesn't he like his father's stories? The stories are always fantastical and, as far as he is concerned, not true. Not surprisingly, the son becomes a journalist who pursues the facts and truth. Towards the end of the movie, the son comes to a realization about his father: He told the story so many times he became the story. That is my favorite moment in the entire movie because the statement rings true.

We read in the Talmud - In every generation, each of us is obligated to see ourselves as if we were the ones who left Mitzrayim. How do we do this? By telling the story as many times as possible, not just at the seder during Pesach, but as part of our worship, part of the rest of our calendar.
Our tradition wants us to become this story because it affects how we act in the world. When we become our story, we are more likely to do something about injustice. When we become our story, we are more likely to treat the stranger as ourselves. When we remember we were slaves in Mitzrayim and that God redeemed us, it changes and strengthens our relationship to the Eternal.
We tell our story so often that we become our story. It doesn't matter if the story is fantastical or true. It does matter that there is truth in it and it is a story worth becoming. We were slaves in Mitzrayim and now we are free because God redeemed us.

#BlogExodus is a Passover blogging project that began on the first day of the Hebrew month Nisan and will continue until Passover. It was started by Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, who encourages individuals to participate on their blogs and/or their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Learn more about how you can participate.

Rabbi Batsheva Appel is the spiritual leader of KAM Israel Congregation in Chicago, IL.
Photo: tarotastic

Published: 3/14/2013

Categories: Jewish Holidays, Passover, Jewish Life
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