Guided Visualization For Seder for Seder or Shabbat Shirah
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Guided Visualization For Seder for Seder or Shabbat Shirah
By Laura Vidmar and Rabbi Goldie Milgram Allow your eyes to close. Inhale and exhale. Listen to the sound of your breath. Do you not hear the distant sound of an ancient sea? Listen to your breath from that part of your heart that remembers being there at the time of the Exodus from Mitzrayim. Inhale and exhale and hear the moving of the waters echoing in your innermost ear as you inhale and exhale. Keeping your eyes closed, look up as if you were looking at the top of the pillar of cloud that is guiding us out of Egypt. Observe the form and color of the cloud and feel the hope and promise that this pillar of cloud represents. Feel its pull on your soul drawing you toward freedom. Now allow your eyes to slowly slide down the length of the cloud, down and down, until your eyes reach the horizon. Notice the mass of people moving with you. Feel yourself moving toward the Sea in that ocean of Israelites. Are you leading children by the hand? Or are you a child yourself, moving quickly to keep up with the big people. Wondering that there is no work to be done today. No bricks to be made, no taskmasters with whips. Listen! In the distance you can hear the dim clatter of spears and shields, horses’ hooves and the rumble of chariot wheels. The whinny of a horse, a muffled command barked by one of the charioteers or Egyptian Captains. The rumbling of the chariots. Pharaoh’s great army is coming behind us. We are approaching the sea. Inhale the tangy salty, watery smell of the sea. Feel the sand sift through your toes in your sandals. Listen! Perhaps you can hear the bleating of sheep. And the children saying “Mommy, Daddy, where are we going?” “What will happen to us?” The familiar, the known, is behind. The sea lies ahead, and the wheels of Pharaoh’s chariots are rumbling - coming closer. The wind is picking up. A strong wind from the East. A persistent, steady, seemingly purposeful wind. A wind that could change everything. Your hair is flying and there are white caps on the sea. And then - Look!! Moshe is holding out his hands - - MY God - the sea is beginning to split. It is a miracle! The sea has parted and there is a path on dry land before us. There is a huge, quivering wall of water on the left and a wall of water on the right. What is in your heart at this moment? Will you rush into the sea with a trusting heart, running toward freedom, praising God ...OR.... do you hang back - afraid of the unknown, afraid the walls of water will close and drown you - afraid of being caught - afraid of change. (Pause) This is not an illusion. Both choosing and being propelled by the crowd. Almost numb with fear, curiosity, hope, and awe you are moving forward into the sea. Even the children and animals fall eerily silent as you walk between the towering walls of water. You can see the intense blue green of the sea on either side. Perhaps a dolphin cavorts along side you in the wall of water. What do you see in the wall of water? Light filters through the waters and casts dancing blue shadows on everyone. Now we’re half-way across. The wall of water on the left and right stretch as far as you can see in front and as far as you can see behind. Incredible ! We are walking on dry land in the midst of the sea. What an exhilarating moment - she-he-khe-yanu, to be alive at this time to experience this . Even if we drown or Pharaoh’s army overtakes us - dayenu. This would have been enough. The chariots sound different now - their wheels scraping and groaning against the sea floor. You are beginning to hear the suggestion of a melody (pause...if you happen to have an instrument begin playing a version of mikha mokha off-key and grating...) beckoning in the distance as you move toward the opposite shore. Could it be animals? No, voices? Singing? Despite exhaustion, growing elation lightens our footsteps. (Modulate...move onto key if using instrument, or else humming could work) Your heartbeat quickens. The pace of everyone increases, surges.....soon you are running, flying.......... eager to reach the opposite side. A woman is singing.......you join her.....(burst into full melody with instrument, do not break the sacred trance....allow everyone to experience the fullness of their vision.) (After a while ask people to notice their breath, to place their vision into their sacred memory chest and return to active awareness.) [How does this work and why? Guided visualization actually is reported not to work with about 10% of people, some of us are simply hard wired for different forms of spirituality. I mention this so those who have this difference won't wear themselves out trying. For those who can benefit from guided visualization it is a very powerful spiritual tool. Several major medical research centers have discovered that it can even be a tool for active healing (called psycho-neuro-immunology), although this meditation is primarily designed for shifting consciousness. Be sure to read slowly, with feeling and honor all the pauses fully, they are very important elements...like rests between the notes of a score.] Copyright 2003 Rabbi Goldie Milgram
– 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...
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...
1. God, have You forgotten me?
I have forgotten how to breathe.
The air here is tight around me
Each day presses in and tomorrow feels impossibly far away
I long to feel Your wide, wide love
To feel hard earth beneath my cracked feet, shade on my bent back, cool mist on my sun-scorched skin
I long to hear sweet words
For respite from the sting that forces me...
By Rabbi Melissa Klein, Rabbi Joanna Katz, Rabbi Julie Greenberg, Rabbi Jo Hirschmann, Susan Kaplow, Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell
This year, we add a padlock and a key to our seder plate.
Those of us who are blessed to live in our own homes tend to associate locks and keys with protection and access. Many of us have homes that keep us safe and that allow us to go in and out as we please. In contrast, for more...
Tonight we drink four cups of wine. Why four? Some say the cups represent ourmatriarchs—Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah—whose virtue caused God to liberate usfrom slavery. Another interpretation is that the cups represent the Four Worlds:physicality, emotions, thought, and essence. Still a third interpretation is that the cupsrepresent the four promises of liberation God makes in the Torah: I will bring you out,...
[Begin taking turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines - or to pass.]
It is said, there is nothing new under the sun, yet nothing remains the same. Against the backdrop of eternity the earth displays an ever-changing countenance. The sun rises and the sun sets, yet each day and each season is fresh and new.
Slowly, one season emerges from another.
The harshness of...
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...
Let us all refill our cups.
Leader picks up cup for all to see.
This is the cup of hope.
The seder tradition involves pouring a cup for the Hebrew prophet Elijah. For millennia, Jews opened the door for him, inviting him join their seders, hoping that he would bring with him a messiah to save the world.
Yet the tasks of saving the world - once ascribed...
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...
More Clips from Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner
(We celebrate the successful ingathering of Ethiopian Jews in the State of Israel for which they prayedand waited for so many years. We shall not forget their oppression and the modern miracle of theirredemption even as they are rapidly becoming mainstream Israelis. We also want to preserve theirheritage of values and liturgy.)
Do not separate me, O Lord, from the chosen
From the joy, from the light,...