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)
I wasn't one of the six million who died in the Shoah,
I wasn't even among the survivors.
And I wasn't one of the six hundred thousand who went out of Egypt.
I came to the Promised Land by sea.
No, I was not in that number, though I still have the fire and the smoke
within me, pillars of fire and pillars of smoke that guide me
by night and by day. I still have inside me the...
Remember the days of old:consider the years of many generations (Deut. 32:7)
Every year, hundreds of giant sea turtles swim hundreds of miles from their homes near Brazil to a tiny island in the Atlantic Ocean in order to find their mates. For years, scientists tried to understand how the turtles could find their way every time, from so far away. It was a tiny island, and even airplanes sometimes had trouble...
The Pesach story begins in a broken world, amidst slavery and oppression. The sound of the breaking of the matza sends us into that fractured existence, only to become whole again when we find the broken half, the afikoman, at the end of the Seder.
This brokenness is not just a physical or political situation: It reminds us of all those hard, damaged places within ourselves. All those narrow places from which we...
There have been many suggestions as to Judaism's most fundamental concept. Here's my candidate: In each and every generation, each of us must see ourselves as if we left Mitzrayim.
Rav Kook says each of us took something from that experience that the world needs before it can be fully redeemed. Our father Abraham knew well how to argue with God, but he didn't argue when told his descendants would be slaves for...
Why is there no orange on our Seder plate?
In the early 1980s, while speaking at Oberlin College Hillel, Susannah Heschel was introduced to an early feminist Haggadah that suggested adding a crust of bread on the Seder plate, as a sign of solidarity with Jewish lesbians (there's as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of bread on the seder plate). Heschel felt that to put...
A HEBREW LESSON ON THE ROOT-WORD S-D-R
How is the festival meal of Passover different from the meal eaten at other holiday celebrations? For one thing, the Passover repast is consumed in the context of a scripted dramatic arrangement, a (seder), from the Hebrew verb (le-sadder), "to arrange."
There are, to be sure, similar arrangements in Jewish ritual and textual life. The daily prayer book, which...
Sam Solomon 3-12-15
The symbols of Passover
The Symbols of Passover The bone that represents the sacrifice. It is weird to me that we sacrifice a lamb. How can we sacrifice such a sweet and innocent animal?
A hard boiled egg? A hard boiled egg? how can something so small have so much meaning?
We eat bitter herbs to remind us of our ancestors work as slaves. But why do we eat food that many...
There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek. After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal… and win a prize.
We eat matzah in memory...
Pesach is many things to many people. Its customs are familiar and can be viewed with many lenses. The symbols are universal and are subject to almost any reading: social justice, class, the Holocaust, Middle East politics, American politics, agriculture, the environment, the list is endless, and the proliferation of interpretations is evidence that this is fertile territory.
A few things – maybe only two –...
Traditionally, The Four Sons (or Children) include a wise son, a wicked (or rebellious) son, a simple son and one who does not even know enough to ask. Each of the first three ask questions about the Seder, essentially "Explain all this to me - what are my responsibilities?" "What has all this nonsense you are babbling about got to do with me?" and "What IS all this anyway?" while the fourth is silent - requiring the...
On Passover, Jews are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus and to see ourselves as having lived through that story, so that we may better learn how to live our lives today. The stories we tell our children shape what they believe to be possible—which is why at Passover, we must tell the stories of the women who played a crucial role in the Exodus narrative.
The Book of Exodus, much like the Book of...
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 Seder is all about answering questions. But one question remains unanswered, and that’s the most important question – Why? We are taught, “In every generation, each person must see him/herself as if s/he were redeemed from Egypt.”But why? Why return to Egypt year after year? Why re-taste the bitterness of slavery? Ask the Torah – What difference does this experience make...
More Clips from Religious Action Center
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
Dayenu to recall the many miracles of the modern state of Israel. This reading speaks ofthe...