Passover: Dipping Parsley into Water of Tears: The Earth Cries Out to Us
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Passover: Dipping Parsley into Water of Tears: The Earth Cries Out to Us
By Rabbi Warren Stone, Washington, D.C.
Following is reading you can use during the seder at the time parsley or another green is dipped into salt water. You might also write your own!
If the Earth Could Speak, It Would Speak with Passion.
As you dip the beauty of greens into the water of tears, please hear my cry. Can’t you see that I am slowly dying? My forests are being clear cut, diminished. My diverse and wondrous creatures -- birds of the sky and beasts of the fields -- small and large are threatened with extinction in your lifetimes. My splendid, colorful floral and fauna are diminishing in kind. My tropical places are disappearing before us, and my oceans are warming. Don’t you see that my climate is changing, bringing floods and heat, more extreme cycles of cold and warm, all affecting you and all our Creation? It doesn’t have to be! You, all of you, can make a difference in simple ways. You, all of you, can help reverse this sorrowful trend.
May these waters into which you dip the greens become healing waters to sooth and restore. As you dip, quietly make this promise:
Yes, I can help protect our wondrous natural places. Yes, I can try to use fewer of our precious resources and to replant and sustain more. I can do my part to protect our forests, our oceans and waters. I can work to protect the survival of creatures of all kinds. Yes, I will seek new forms of sustainable energy in my home and in my work, turning toward the sun, the wind, the waters. I make this promise to strive to live gently upon this Earth of ours for the good of all coming generations.
The Torah (Deuteronomy 16:3) calls Matzah "Lechem Oni", which is commonly translated as "Bread of Affliction", but means, more literally, "poor person's bread" or "peasant bread." For our ancestors, bread was the staff of life, symbolic of all food. One name for Passover is "The Festival of Matzah", but it might also be called "The Festival of Simple Food". Part of the great genius of this holiday is the way in which the simple peasant food of our slave past was transformed into the food of our redemption. How might Matzah as simple food redeem us now?
One way is our own personal health. Many of the serious diseases in our society have now been linked to over consumption of animal foods and processed foods of all sorts. In the past decade, medical authorities have begun to recommend less animal food and more whole grains and fresh vegetables.
A second way is by sharing food with the hungry. What do Matzah/simple food and hunger have to do with one another? If we all ate more simply, there would be more for others. This is an important lesson for the modern world and especially for us inAmerica. More than 70% of the grain grown in the US goes to feed livestock. The livestock flesh, in turn, will feed far fewer people than the feed that went into it. If all the grain grown for livestock were consumed directly by people, it would feed five times as many people as it does when fed to animals.
A third way is that eating simple, fresh food grown by local farmers who practice sustainable farming methods reduces pollution for fertilizers and pesticides which threaten the health of humans, other species, and whole ecosystems.
Is this not the fast that I have chosen? To loose the chains of wickedness, to undo the bonds of oppression, and to let the oppressed go free...Is it not to share thy bread with the hungry?
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,...
The MaNishtana traditionally asks us, “What is unique or different about tonight?” and, “Why do we eat Matzah, why do we dip and eat Bitter Herbs not just once, but twiceand why do we recline?” These elements are symbolic themes that mirror the reflection our ancestor’s liberation from slavery, the hardships they experienced and theoppression that infringed on their freedoms. Tonight at our GLBT Passover Seder...
Not Just Handwashing
Ask for two volunteers: one to carry a pitcher of water and to pourwater over each guest’s hands, and one to carry a basin and a towel.
Use ice water to remember people who do not have warm water.
Have everyone take off their bracelets and rings, even wedding bands for the handwashing (or for the whole seder, to be returned when the afikomen is found) to...
Slaves eat quickly, stopping neither to wash nor to reflect. Tonight, we are free. We wash and we express our reverence for the blessings that are ours.
Pass a bowl of water, a small cup and a towel around the table. Everyone pours three cupfuls over their fingers. There is no blessing over this washing.
When we bless the green parsley and dip it in the salty water, we remember the spring, and we remember the long, sad years of our slavery.
When we left Egypt,
we bloomed and sprouted,
and songs dripped from our tongues
like shimmering threads of nectar.
All green with life we grew,
who had been buried,
under toil and sorrow,
dense as bricks.
All green in...
"Passover" By Yehuda Amichai
My father was a god and did not know it. He gave me
The Ten Commandments neither in thunder nor in furry; neither in fire nor in cloud
But rather in gentleness and love. And he added caresses and kind words
and he added “I beg You,” and “please.”
And he sang “keep” and “remember” the Shabbat
In a single melody and he pleaded and
[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...
By Jessica Steinberg
Why do we eat much on this night and others eat little?
Why do we eat the unleavened bread and throw our leavened bread away instead of donating it to the food pantry?
Why do we dip our food into sauce and salt andcharosetwhile others may not even havea crumb to dip?
Why do we lay back, relax and eat the food that comes to us so easily while others work to buy...
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...
We have come together this evening for many reasons.
We are here because Spring is all around, the Earth is reborn,
and it is a good time to celebrate with family and friends.
We are here because we are Jews,
because we are members of the Jewish nation,
with its deep historic roots and its valuable old memories and stories.
We are here to remember the old story of 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,...