The Rav said earlier that even more important than being freed by Pharaoh in the middle of the night, was the Yetzias Mitzrayim that took place in the morning because that’s when the Am Yisroel left Egypt and finally escaped the gentile environment. So why do we have the Seder at night and not in the morning?
The answer is that the Seder is the time of the eating of the korban Pesach; it’s the finale of the Chag Ha’Pesach, the fourteenth of Nissan, which is a yomtiv of its own that comes before the Chag Ha’Matzos. The yomtiv of Pesach means the shechita on the fourteenth of Nissan and the eating by night. That’s the yomtiv of Pesach. And we eat the korban pesach at night because that’s the time when a very great thing happened. They put the blood of the korban pesach on the mezuzos and on the mashkof, and Hashem saw that and He passed over them. That happened at night. The pesach, the skipping over, happened at night time, and so the Seder, which in its original form was constructed around the korban pesach, is at night.
Now, Chag Ha’Matzos is a different story. All the significant teachings of the matzoh that we learned tonight continue for all seven days. And a wise person makes sure to use all the days and nights of Pesach to think these thoughts and transform himself into a new person. But the great lesson of the korban pesach, of Hashem skipping over us, that was at night. That was a special lesson that we learned on Pesach night. The makkas bechoros was at night: בכל ארץ מצרים there was a צעקה גדולה, loud screams from all the Mitzri homes. In every home there was death and screaming. And we were sitting securely in our homes eating the korban pesach and listening to the Mitzri’im crying out in their anguish. Hashem was making a very public declaration that although the all nations of the world will eventually go lost, but the Destroyer will always skip over the Am Yisroel. That’s what the Pesach symbolized – that we will be forever. Forever and ever Hakodosh Boruch Hu will watch over and protect the Am Yisroel. It was a tremendous experience that night, and we try to relive it on the Seder night, just like it happened at night.
It was a night to remember! ליל שימורים! What does leil shimurim mean? Shimurim means to always remember it; to keep it always. It means we remember that night forever and ever. Of course, the lesson of the daytime geulah was also of utmost importance. But for the lesson of recognizing the miracles of Hashem, the nighttime is the most outstanding of all the opportunities.
At the Seder we speak about what Hakodosh Boruch Hu did for us that night, when all over Mitzrayim we heard Hakodosh Boruch Hu bringing vengeance upon the Mitzri’im. And Pharaoh got up in the middle of the night. That was a neis too. In the middle of the night, for Pharaoh to run around looking for Moshe and Aharon?! All the great things happened that night. Hashem was פסח על בתי ישראל; He passed over our homes. And that great event was a portent, a prophecy for the future – that the Destroyer will always pass over our people, because we are the Am Olam, the eternal people. And because it happened at night, the Seder at night is the great opportunity to talk about these things and remember them.
TAPE # E-133 (March 1998)