The four questions that we ask at the Seder table begin: “What is the difference between this night (of Pesach) and all (other) nights?”
The children at the Seder table ask their father to explain to them the meaning of all the unique customs that we perform on the first night of Pesach. We are all children of our Father in heaven, and while turning to our physical father we simultaneously turn to Him and ask: “What is the difference between this night and all other nights? …”
“Night” symbolizes exile. We begin by asking our father (and Father in heaven) to explain to us the difference between this, final exile and all previous exiles. This final exile of the Jewish People is the period in history that heralds the imminent arrival of the Mashiach, the redeemer of all mankind, who will bring peace to earth.
Just as in the account of creation where night precedes day, so the night of exile must precede the morn of redemption.
This final night of exile is darker, in a certain sense, than all other nights. Together with physical abundance to a degree that the world has never before known there is profound spiritual lack, “hunger and thirst” (in the idiom of the prophets) for knowledge of God and direct experience of His Providence over all. The more modern culture (with its great advances in science and technology) ‘sanctifies’ nature and its laws (the external ‘clothing’ of the Creator) the more Divinity (the Creator Himself) becomes concealed.
The gematria of “this night” (הלילה הזה, 97), equals “time” (זמן). This final exile is in essence our very experience of time, of our transient, ephemeral state of existence on earth. Redemption is living above time in time, experiencing eternity in transience.
97 is a prime number. Beginning from 1, 97 is the 26th prime. 26 is the value of God’s essential Name Havayah (הוי’ה), which reads “was, is, will be – as one.” “Exile” (גלות) equals 439 , also a prime number, the 86th prime. 86 is the value of God’s Name Elokim (א-להים), which equals “nature” (הטבע).
Redemption is the revelation of Havayah in “this night” (“time”) and Elokim, the Divinity inherent in nature itself, in “exile.”