BINA Living

This month’s classes:

Monday, July 1
Unity, Tolerance and Acceptance
BINA Living
Starts 7:15PM

Why do we lean to the left on seder night?

Q: I’m having trouble understanding what we lean to our left on the Seder night when we eat the matza and drink the wine. I must have already stained many of my shirts with the wine, and I have spent so much time cleaning the matzah crumbs off the floor. Why can’t we just sit up straight like normal people?

A: In Talmudic times it was a sign of freedom to lean on couches while leaning. On Pesach night we are not only remembering the story of the exodus but we are supposed to actually experience it. Therefore, the sages instituted that we should lean during the Seder to express that freedom. Nowadays in general leaning is not really a thing, but the custom has remained that we lean on the Seder night.

On a deeper level, leaning represents surrender. It's a form of bowing down. When we lean on the Seder night, we are saying: “G-d I am surrendering to you. I’m allowing you to free me from the shackles that hold me down and don’t allow me to grow.” On Pesach, that surrender is all that is needed. G-d then does the rest.