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    ”Ve’higadeta le’vincha – And you shall tell
    it to your children. (Shemos/Exodus 13:8)
    This week’s Torah portion, Bo, instructs us
    to share with our children the story of our
    people, the making of our nation.
    Every year, come Seder night, we open our
    Haggadahs, and recount the miraculous
    story of our nation’s survival. How with the
    “outstretched hand of HaShem”, Am Yisroel
    rose from slavery to freedom, from bondage
    to liberation. How they stood at Sinai, and
    accepted upon themselves Torah and
    It is the story of our identity. The tale of
    Jewish continuity.
    The Book of Shemos relates how our
    Patriarch Yaakov went to Egypt with
    seventy descendants. A small group that
    flourished to the multitude that stood at
    The commandment to tell over the story of

    the Exodus is so fundamental, that we
    mention it in our daily prayers when we
    recite Shema, and every Friday night in
    Kiddush, “Zecher li’tzias Mitrayim – In
    remembrance of our Exodus from Egypt”.
    To my parents, of blessed memory, the
    mitzva of ve’higadeta, to recount the tale,
    wasn’t reserved just for Seder night or for
    the story of the Exodus. Every Yom Tov,
    every Shabbos, every family gathering, was
    an occasion to share stories of our people.
    Stories of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
    Stories of our great rabbis and leaders. They
    shared family stories of our Zeides and
    Bubbas, our ancestors. Every night before
    going to sleep, instead of hearing about
    Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red
    Riding Hood, or Snow White, we heard
    about Rabbi Akiva and Hillel, about Queen
    Esther and Ruth. We heard about our family
    that perished in the Holocaust. We felt
    connected to our past.
    My parents conveyed the message to us
    that we were links in a chain. That we had
    ancestors who made a path for us. A path
    that went all the way back to Sinai. The

    message of knowing who you are,
    where you came from, and where
    you are going to, was always with
    In today’s world of internet
    culture, so many of our children
    are growing up without hearing
    stories of their past, tales of their
    heritage. They are growing up
    without the Ve’higadeta
    le’vincha, to tell your child.
    I recently came across a
    children’s book that adults can
    appreciate as well, Goodnight
    iPad by Ann Droyd (obviously a
    pseudonym). It is a parody of the classic
    bedtime read Goodnight Moon.
    “In the bright buzzing room
    There was an iPad
    And a kid playing Doom
    And a screensaver of—
    A bird launching over the moon
    There were three little Nooks
    With ten thousand books
    And a huge LCD Wi-Fi HDTV
    With Bose 5.1,
    Six remotes, and 3-D”
    The book’s illustrations depict a culture
    that is technology infested – everyone
    with their personal devices. The
    bookshelves are empty, the room filled
    with screens, tablets, media players, and
    of course, a quiet old lady who couldn’t
    fall asleep.
    While I appreciated the humor, and even
    had a laugh, there was something tragic
    about a world of children growing up
    addicted to their ipads. A world lacking a
    human touch. A world where devices
    often replace old time bedtime stories.
    What a contrast to the memories of my
    childhood. Memories of my parents and
    grandparents sharing stories of our family
    and our history.
    Years passed. My mother became the
    grandmother. Together with my siblings,
    we would often go “home” for Shabbos
    and Yom Tov. The children would gather
    around my mother, their beloved Bubba,
    and the stories continued. M’dor l’dor,
    from generation to generation.
    Ve’higadeta le’vincha, and you should tell
    your children.

    We children are blessed to have ancestors
    who authored holy books, books of Torah
    commentary. Books my parents brought
    with them to every family simcha, be it a
    bris, a bar mitzvah or a wedding. They
    would place the books on the head table,
    giving them a place of honor. They would
    explain the books’ origins, and invite our
    ancestors’ neshamos to join us and shower
    us with blessings. The woreds of Pirkei
    Avos, Ethics of Our Fathers come to mind,
    “Dah may’ayin bahsah, know from where
    you came”. That knowledge gives us
    identity. An identity that provides direction
    in life.
    I remember one of my first dates with my
    then-to-be future husband. It was Chol
    Hamoed Succos – the intermediate days of
    the holiday. When he arrived to our home,
    my father invited him into our succah. There
    on the table were the holy books. (It was no
    coincidence – my father planted them there
    in advance.)
    My father explained the family tree, and
    the two proceeded to sit down and study
    together. The legacy of the Zeides lives on.
    In the Hebrew language, the word sipur
    means story. It is a special mitzva to relate
    the story of the Exodus from Egypt. Rabbi
    Joseph B. Soloveitchik teaches that the
    word sipur, story, is related to the word sofer
    – a scribe. It is up to us to be sofrim –
    scribes. To write our stories for the next
    Each one of us has a story to tell. Each one
    of us has a personal history to transmit to
    our descendants. It is our sacred duty to
    create our own book of memories.
    It’s time to write your story. It’s time to
    bring to life the message of Ve’higadeta
    le’vincha, and you should tell it to your