Dinner is Served
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Dinner is Served
-At this time in our festive meal, we recline more fully, we share our stories more openly, and we affirm our identities as a newly freed people. We have found the Afikoman and continue this gathering with celebration andsong. There re-united piece of matzah that makes our meal complete is the symbol of wholeness we feel in retelling the story of our people’s liberation. We now find ourselves more complete than when we started.
-Family has gathered, new friendships have been forged, and we must continue to tell our own story within the great narrative of the Jewish people. We are a part of the telling, our story today is as alive and important as the generations before us. We share this piece of matzah now and renew our promise to find wholeness in the world around us.
– Jen Stein
This year, on the seder plate
instead of the bloodied shank bone
we place a cluster of sweet grapes
which serve as a symbol of fertility,
of new life and abundance.
We choose this, life, and not death:
for before us is set life and death
the blessing and the curse.
Therefore, we choose life
that we may invite...
By Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Rabbi Lauren Holzblatt
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...
The Four Cups of the Seder are structurally connected to the four verbal performances this evening:
(1) Kiddush, sanctifying the holiday
(2) Maggid, the storytelling
(3) Birkat HaMazon, completing the Pesach meal; and
(4) Hallel, completing the festival Psalms.
The Talmud connects the Four Cups to God's Four Promises to Israel: "Tell the children of...
By Avigayil Halpern
Blood:Young girls tuck tampons quickly into backpacks, secret them in purses, hide them in Ugg boots. It’s not blue dye that the river is running with, and periods are more trouble than the pamphlet in that goody bag from middle-school health class would leave one to believe. “It’s beautiful to be female,”we’re told, but nobody...
Free people ask questions. We begin our Seder with questions. Although the custom is that the youngest at the table asks, tradition instructs that all must ask:
Ma Neeshtana ha-laila ha-zeh meekol ha-laylot? Sheh-bichol ha-laylot anoo ochleem chametz oo-matzah. Halailah hazeh chametz oomatz. Sheh-bi'chol ha-laylot anoo ochleem sheh-ar yerakot. Ha-lailah hazeh maror.
Sheh-bi'chol ha-laylot ayn...
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...
Passover is a holiday with many different themes. This breadth ensures that no two seders will ever be exactly alike and encourages each of us to engage equally, whether this is the first or hundredth seder you’ve attended. It also challenges each of us to connect to the seder on a personal, individual level. The themes offered are just a sampling, what other themes are you drawn to?
Redemption: In the...
The first hand-washing of the seder is unusual. The rabbis point out that even a child would wonder at least two things: why do we wash without a blessing and why do we bother to wash when we will not be eating our meal for some time. They suggest that we wash our hands here in order to raise questions. Questions, both of wonder and of despair, are crucial to our time at the seder and, really, our growth as human...
The Paschal Lamb reminds us that the Holy One, praised be God, passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt.
The Matzah is to remind us that before the dough our ancestors prepared for bread had time to rise, God revealed the might, power and presence of God unto them and redeemed them.
The Bitter Herbs are to remind us that the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in...
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...
By Rabbi Gavriel Goldfeder alternadox.net
Later on we will do 'rachtzah'─the washing over the matzah. Now we are doing 'urchatz', which amounts to washing before eating a vegetable. This is not something we do every day.
To explain, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, first chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, writes of dividing life...
Shared by Alex Weissman
Thekarpas, the green vegetable, is the first part of thesederthat makes this night different from all other nights. So far, the first glass of wine and the hand washing, though significant, do not serve to mark any sort of difference; they are regular parts of meals. The karpas,...
More Clips from VBS
The Exodus gave us our freedom. It also taught us our ethics, our theology, our philosophy. How many commandments in the Torah are rooted in our experience of slavery and freedom?
I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods besides Me. (Exodus 20:1)
You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers In the...
We have so many reasons to be grateful to God tonight: for freedom and dignity, friendship and family, prosperity and health. Any one of these would have been enough - Day'aynoo!
Kama ma'alot tovot la-Makom alaynoo, Day'aynoo!
How many are the gifts that God has granted us!
Eeloo ho'tzee-anu me'meetzrayeem, Day'aynoo!
Eeloo seepayk tzarchaynoo...