Cup of Elijah
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Cup of Elijah
This section of the Haggadah focuses on our hopes for the peace andredemption 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 CongregationIsrael of Glencoe, IL’s Women’s Seder includes the following passage to be read whileopening the door for Elijah. This reading reminds us that there are still injustices based ongender, 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 forElijah, reminding us that each child born bears the potential…could make thedifference…could be the Messiah.
But some would say that the Messiah will truly come when we welcome ourdaughters into the covenant with Elijah’s chair present, bringing them into ourpeople, 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)
Together as we wash our hands, they move into the bowl of water, and back out of the water. Why do we do this? Are our hands really getting clean without soap? We won’t be eating for some time, why do we do this so early?
The washing of our hands suggests that we are open to question. One question that is always asked is about hope.
Rick Recht answers in his song:
This is the hope that...
We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal.
Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do. Let's pause as we wash our hands to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together.
At Passover each year, we read the story of our ancestors’ pursuit of liberation from oppression. When confronting this history, how do we answer our children or our contacts when they ask us how to pursue justice in our time?
WHAT DOES THE REVOLUTIONARY CHILD ASK?
“The Torah tells me, ‘Justice, justice you shall pursue,’ but how can I pursue justice?”
Empower him always to seek pathways...
The first words in the creation of the universe out of the unformed, void and dark earth were God’s “Let there be light." Therein lies the hope and faith of Judaism and the obligation of our people: to make the light of justice, compassion, and knowledge penetrate the darkness of our time till the prophecy be fulfilled, ‘that wickedness vanish like smoke and the earth shall be filled with knowledge of God as the...
Korech: Mixing the Bitter and the Sweet
One of my favorite moments of the seder comes just before dinner is served. It is called Korech. It is also known as the Hillel sandwich. It is the moment when we eat maror (the bitter herbs) and the charoset (the sweet apple and nut mixture) on a piece of matzah. What a strange custom to eat something so bitter and something so sweet all in one bite. I...
By Rabbi Gavriel Goldfeder www.alternadox.net
We all know that we cannot rely on the holiness of our desires all the time. Tonight is special, different. Tonight it is safe to let go. But in a week or a month, who knows? By breaking the middle matzah, we acknowledge that we are still split. We still cannot ultimately trust that...
This year, as we enjoy the luxury of freedom, and the pleasures of the Seder meal, let us keep in mind that others continue to suffer for our present-day luxuries. Child and slave labor are the dirty secret behind many of the goods thatwe consume. Just as we have listed the ten plagues, let us now list ten commodities that are often obtained today through the suffering of slaves and children. For each commodity, we...
The Leader of the Seder only, now washes his/her hands from an ewer into a bowl held
by another celebrant, wiping them dry on a hand towel. We have accepted the need for
leadership, we wash the leaders's hands. This small, formal act of service is a symbol of
our recognition of their leadership. This is an ancient Jewish...
Use this piece before singing Hallel and think about what it means to transition from slavery to freedom.
Exodus and Liberation translate many different ways for different communities, religious groups, and individuals. Chief Tom Dostou of the Wabanaki Nation of Massachusetts offers the following prayer in an excerpt from a larger piece describing his journey across his ancestral homeland of “Turtle...
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This reading takes place near the beginning of the Seder in the yachatz section. It provides the primary textual inspiration for feeding the hungry during Passover, as well as calling for an end to slavery, which continues to exist around the world in various forms. It also prompts us to join together with members of the African American community for communal Seders recognizing our common experience of...
Passover is rich in social justice themes. It is impossible to study the story of ourredemption and not feel compelled to eradicate injustice in the world today. Among theprimary social justice themes found in the Exodus story and in the Passover observanceare hunger and homelessness and oppression and redemption.“This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Letall those who are...
This song, found in the Seder, thanks God forthe myriad miracles that took place at the time of the Exodus. “Dayenu” can also allow usto express our gratitude for all that has taken place in recent times. In 1988, CLAL (TheNational Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership) produced this modern version of
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