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
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?
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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...
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We are gathered here tonight to affirm our continuity with the generations of Jews whokept alive the vision of freedom in the Passover story. For thousands of years, Jewshave affirmed that by participating in the Passover Seder, we not only remember the Exodus, but actually relive it, bringing its transformative power into our own...
The central imperative of the Seder is to tell the story. The Bible instructs: “ You shall tell your child on that day, saying: ‘This is because of what Adonai did for me when I came out of Egypt.' ” (Exodus 13:8) We relate the story of our ancestors to regain the memories as our own. Elie Weisel writes: God created man because He loves stories. We each have a story to tell — a story of enslavement, struggle,...
In Talmud Pesachim, Rava teaches, "A person who swallows matzah without chewing fills the mitzvah, the commandment, to eat matzah. However, a person who swallows maror without chewing doesn't fulfill the mitzvah to eat maror."
Matzah is Biblical fast food. Matzah is flat because the Hebrews were in such a hurry to get out of Egypt, they didn't wait for their bread to rise. They rushed out, eating crackers,...
[Resume taking turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines - or to pass.]
Passover is the celebration of life.
The story of the Jewish people is truly a triumph of life.
Against the odds of history, the Jewish people have done more than survive -
we have adapted creatively to each new time, each new place,
from the birth of our people to the present...
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...
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Why on this night, why, tell me why,
Only this flat stuff that’s always so dry.
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And I’m starting to like them – except lima beans.
Why on this night, I ask on my knees,
Do we eat stuff so bitter it makes grownups...
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...
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Matzo is a paradox.
Not only is it so, but in breaking the middle matzo we also break with symmetry. There...
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