In the modern era, our contemporary sages -- biblical scholars, archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians -- have called into question practically all aspects of the legend we have so loyally commemorated each year. These scholars have identified inconsistencies in the story, chronological lapses, mythological aspects of the account, and, crucially, a total lack of corroborating evidence.
At most, perhaps a small band of our ancestors -- the Levite tribe -- experienced and escaped Egyptian slavery. But nearly all of the early Hebrews never stepped foot in Egypt and had no memory of this event.
And yet, this story has enthralled the Jewish people for centuries and was embraced by Jewish culture collectively as our foundational event.
Why has it been so compelling? And why do we continue to cling to it even in the face of evidence to the contrary?
We tell the story because it is the first ever in recorded history to celebrate the idea that slaves could become free people.
We tell the story because it has inspired us in our darkest moments to hope for freedom renewed.
We tell the story because it teaches us to have compassion for all those who are still not free -- because “we, too, once were slaves in Egypt.”