The Mishna in Masechet Pesachim formulates some of the guidelines of the Seder to enable us to perform the Mitzva of telling the story of Yetziat Mitzraim. One instruction states,ודורש פרשת ארמי אבד אבי, that one is to read the Parsha of מקרא ביכורים with its accompanying Midrashic commentary. Our Hagada begins with the phrase, צא ולמד מה בקש לבן הארמי לעשות. Two questions emerge. Why begin with the word צא, which literally means go out? Learning generally takes place within the home and not outside. This is particularly true during the Seder night when we were told ואיש לא תצאו מפתח ביתו, man was not to leave his house in Mitzraim. Rav interprets the phrase אין מפטירין אחר הפסח אפיקומן as שלא יעקרו מחבורה לחבורה, one should not leave his group after consuming the Korban Pesach (Pesachim 119b). Why, then, would we begin the paragraph with the directive צא? Second, why do we insert this paragraph immediately following והיא שעמדה לאבותינו ולנו?
We find the word צא used in Parshat Noach following the flood. Hashem instructs Noach, צא מן התיבה, “Leave the ark.” Why was it necessary for Hashem to instruct Noach to leave the ark? One would have expected that once the water receded Noach would have left the ark even without a command from Hashem. Apparently, Noach contemplated the option of remaining in the ark. Having witnessed an entire world destroyed as a result of moral corruption, Noach doubted whether it was worth investing the effort to rebuild the world. If the world is going to be destroyed a second time, why bother rebuilding the world? Hashem had to implore Noach to leave the ark and begin the reconstruction of the world. A similar theme emerges in the context of the Seder. We have just stated שלא אחד בלבד עמד עלינו לכלותינו. Not only did Paroh rise and attempt to destroy us, the Spaniards, the Poles, and the Germans all have tried to eradicate Am Yisrael. Many have regrettably said, היה יהודי באהליך ואדם בצאתך, “Be a Jew at home and a general citizen when interacting with society.” Yaakov may have felt this way when he was about to encounter Esav having just escaped the clutches of Lavan. But Yaakov responded עם לבן גרתי ותרי"ג מצוות שמרתי, “I lived with Lavan, but I kept the 613 Mitzvot.” Go out to the world and make a resounding statement that with the assistance of Hashem we will repel each challenge and fulfill ויהי שם לגוי - מלמד שהיו מצוינים שם, to remain a vibrant, unique people dedicated to the word of Hashem