Cup of Elijah
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Cup of Elijah
This section of the Haggadah focuses on our hopes for the peace and redemption of messianic times, while also reminding us of what we can do l’taken et haolam, to repair the world in our own time. By way of example, North Shore Congregation Israel of Glencoe, IL’s Women’s Seder includes the following passage to be read while opening the door for Elijah. This reading reminds us that there are still injustices based on gender, and that we must continue to fight for equality in the Jewish community, in the workplace, economically and in society between men and women:
Elijah, we are told,
Will precede the Messiah.
He will be a sign to us.
And so we welcome Elijah
At the end of Shabbat,
A taste of the ideal, the messianic.
We pray, we sing.
At the Seder we even open the door.
At a bris we welcome a baby boy into the covenant. There we place a chair for Elijah, reminding us that each child born bears the potential…could make the difference…could be the Messiah.
But some would say that the Messiah will truly come when we welcome our daughters into the covenant with Elijah’s chair present, bringing them into our people, recognizing their potential to make a difference. We open the door. We welcome Elijah, girls and boys, women and men. Together, we realize potential. (Lisa S. Greene)
We Won't Get Fooled Again: Helping Teens Identify Pharaoh
A boy is tricked into being part of a game with other boys only to find out that he is the target of mockery and abuse. A girl is happy to be included as a "friend" at a lunch table until she finds it was only a ploy to get back at another girl. A boy is "hit on" as part of a practical joke. A girl is lured into an unwelcomed physical...
It’s been a crazy week. The world with all its worries and bothers is still clamoring for your attention. The first step is to forget all that. Leave it behind. Enter into a timeless space, where you, your great-grandparents and Moses all coincide.
The beginning of all journeys is separation. You’ve got to leave somewhere to go somewhere else. It is also the first step towards freedom:...
From singing Dayenu we learn to celebrate each landmark on our people's journey. Yet we must never confuse these way stations with the goal. Because it is not yet Dayenu. There is still so much to do in our work of tikkun olam, repairing the world.
When governments end the escalating production of devastating weapons, secure in the knowledge that they will not be necessary, Dayenu.
When all women and men...
THESE WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO DIED
Because they had no love and felt alone in the world
Because they were afraid to be alone and tried to stick it out
Because they could not ask
Because they were shunned
Because they were sick and their bodies could not resist the disease
Because they played it safe
Because they had no connection
Because they had...
by Stanley Kunitz
Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
1. Hannah Senesh was a Hungarian Jew, one of 37 Jews who lived in the British Mandate for Palestine (now Israel), who were trained by the British army to parachute into Yugoslavia during the Second World War in order to help save the Jews of Hungary, who were about to be deported to the German death camp at Auschwitz.
2. Senesh was arrested at the Hungarian border, imprisoned and tortured, but she refused to...
From Oppression to Liberation:
For the Pursuit of Reproductive Justice in this Generation
The four cups of wine we drink this evening are symbols of our freedom and God's presence in our lives. But,
as the seder ritual reminds us, freedom is an ongoing journey. True freedom can only be enjoyed when all our
sisters, brothers and others are freed of the many burdens that would...
Read and Discuss
The Three Levels of Oppression: Ilan Gur Ze'ev
The First level:
In our opinion, the first level of oppression, primitive oppression, is expressed by inflicting aggressive force (physical violence) in order to force someone to act against their will and interest. Uprising against this kind of oppression is possible...
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
By Wendell Berry
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
The beginning of the seder seems strange. We start with kiddush as we normally would when we begin any festive meal. Then we wash, but without a blessing, and break bread without eating it.
What’s going on here?
It seems that the beginning of the seder is kind of a false start. We act as if we are going to begin the meal but then we realize that we can’t – we...
When we bless the green parsley and dip it in the salty water, we remember the spring, and we remember the long, sad years of our slavery.
When we left Egypt,
we bloomed and sprouted,
and songs dripped from our tongues
like shimmering threads of nectar.
All green with life we grew,
who had been buried,
under toil and sorrow,
dense as bricks.
All green in...
[Resume taking turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines - or to pass.]
Passover is the celebration of life.
The story of the Jewish people is truly a triumph of life.
Against the odds of history, the Jewish people have done more than survive -
we have adapted creatively to each new time, each new place,
from the birth of our people to the present...
More Clips from Religious Action Center
This cup of wine is dedicated
to the women who do not find themselves
embraced by a community, as we are tonight
women who endure injury, humiliation and
sexual assault and cannot talk about it.
women who suffered unspeakable abuses and did not live to tell.
this is the cup for shattered souls who never dreamed it would happen to them...
the women who stay to...
Over the course of tonight’s seder, we are commanded to imagine that we ourselves came out of Egypt – as if we ourselves were personally redeemed from slavery. Perhaps this is a lofty goal; few of us have experienced slavery in the way our Israelite ancestors did. Similarly, it can be hard to imagine the paralyzing confinement many women and families feel while seeking to access abortion care. We retell stories to...
Why did the Israelites wander for a generation in the wilderness? It was clear to God (and Moses) that the Israelites who had been enslaved in Egypt were unprepared to be free. And why? Because the Egyptians had taken away their sense of self. By insinuating enslavement into the lives of the Israelites, the oppressors had removed their ability even to think of themselves as free and autonomous human beings.