Four Children? Nope! They're ALL US!
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Four Children? Nope! They're ALL US!
There is something else hidden tonight in addition to the Afikoman.
We generally think of the Four Children as distinct individuals, or personalities, or types.
Each asks (or doesn't ask) a different typeof question and in a differenttone. (This is the Haggadah's way of explaining why the Torah seems to say we should tell our children about the Exodus from Egypt in different words, and in differing levels of detail. The Book of Proverbs tells us to "teach a child in the way s/he can understand (appropriate to each age, intellectual and interest level), and as s/he grows older that knowledge will remain."
But just flip the list upside down, and a different pictureemerges.
Suddenly, we see ourselves at all the stages of our human development from childhood to adulthood and beyond, reflected in this passage.
The one who doesn't know what or how to askis too young - perhaps a pre-schooler, or simply incapable of asking.
The simple one. Simple questions from a young child just learning about life - just learning how to read and reason - require simple, declarative if not definitive, answers, without equivocation and as factual but unfrightening as we can make them.
The rebellious one - (often erroneously referred to as wicked) - that's us as teenagers, challenging authority, seeking our own answers, trying to make sense of things we now summarily reject out of hand that once we had accepted as revealed truth.
The wise one. Then, IF we survive our teenage rebelliousness, we FINALLY emerge into adult maturity, and hopefully, attain wisdom or something akin to it, that enables us to function in, if not make sense of, the world we inhabit.
If we are lucky, this last stage lasts a lifetime.
(For many, however, the ladder UP eventually becomes the staircase DOWN again, as we pass through the wisdom of adulthood, back to a a cantankerous stubbornness or rebelliousness, to simplicity, and finally, sadly, to the silence of no longer knowing how, or caring what, to ask.)
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...
If Hallel is traditionally a time to sing songs in praise of God, what better song to sing than “Miriam’s Song,” which recalls the jubilant dancing and singing of Israelite women led by Miriam after the miracle at the Red Sea. The singer-songwriter Debbie Friedman (1951-2011) gave Miriam the Prophet new life with this song, bringing women and girls of all ages to their feet to celebrate...
We sanctify the name of God and proclaim the holiness of this festival of Passover. With a blessing over wine, we lift our wine, our symbol of joy; let us welcome the festival of Passover.
In unison, we say…
Our God and God of our ancestors, we thank You for enabling us to gather in friendship, to observe the Festival of Freedom. Just as for many centuries the Passover Seder has brought together families...
Use this piece in tandem with the telling of the Exodus story. Think about the connection between the Jewish story of Exodus from Egypt to more contemporary examples of persecution and forced migration. How did the formation of the territory now known as the United States depend upon the forced migration of people already residing on the land?
The Hebrews’ Exodus from Egypt is a climactic...
Water is refreshing, cleansing, and clear, so it’s easy to understand why so many cultures and religions use water for symbolic purification. 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, which Judaism thinks of as a ritual in itself. (The Jewish obsession with food is...
Passover combines the celebration of an event from Jewish memory with a recognition of the cycles of nature. As we remember the liberation from Egypt, we also recognize the stirrings of spring and rebirth happening in the world around us. The symbols on our table bring together elements of both kinds of celebration.
We now take a vegetable, in this case parsely, to represent our joy at the dawning of spring after...
SALT WATER - Why do we dip our food in salt water two times on this night?
The first time, the salty taste reminds us of the tears we cried when we were slaves.
[Greens held up for all to see.]
KARPAS - Parsley and celery are symbols of all kinds of spring greenery.
The second time, the salt water and the green can help us to remember
the ocean and green plants...
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...
For a well-formatted printable ritual, and for more information about Rabbis Organizing Rabbis, please visit http://www.rac.org/ror/
The traditional Ha Lachma Anya is found at the beginning of the Maggid, or “storytelling,” section of the Haggadah. This ritual connects both our Exodus story and the Jewish immigrant narrative to the reality of aspiring Americans...
The answers to the first three questions are drawn from Michelle Alexander’s groundbreaking book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010). Excerpts are cited with “NJC” and the page number.
Why does America have the highest incarceration rate of any developed nation in the world?
Many factors have increased...
Traditionally, The Four Sons/Daughters include a wise one, a wicked (or rebellious) one, a simple one 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 adults...
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How long should the ideal Seder last. Everyone is hungry; the kids are squirmy, guests are growing impatient. You're on step 5 of 15 and dinner isn't even in sight.
It might interest you to know that originally, the meal PRECEDED the recitation of the Passover story (Maggid - step 5 of 15) and now it's at step number 11!Why? Because the rabbis were wise enough to know that few would hang around for the...
Eggs are prominent and pervasive on Pesah. In fact, so prevalent are they during the holiday week that one might suspect that the ancient Greek name for Pesahactually may have been Cholesterol!
Let's start with the Seder Plate, where a roasted egg (Beitzah ביצה), said to represent the holiday sacrifice, orHaggigah (חגיגה) finds a prominent place on a plate otherwise filled...