One might wonder why, on a night that’s supposed to be focused on sweet liberation, we must eat bitter herbs? Because while joy is a goal, sorrow is and must be a part of our lives. No person gets to live a life free of bitterness. Sickness, tragedy, and death are all part of reality. We don’t invite those sorrows. We don’t have to see them as good. We may work to minimize them. But we can’t avoid them. Neither should we. Without pain, we can never truly know love; without mortality, life would cease to be so precious. As Springsteen wrote, “You can’t shut off the risk and the pain without losing the love that remains.” Only through tasting some of life’s bitterness can we truly appreciate its sweetness.
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