Two Cups - Elijah's and Miram's
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Two Cups - Elijah's and Miram's
Everybody knows that we place a cup of wine for the prophet Eliah at the center of the Seder table. At a dramatic moment in the Seder, the door is opened to welcome this usually unseen guest into our homes in the hope that the final, messianic, redemption of all people is at hand. Our ancient traditions tell us that final redemption will come at the season of Israel's redemption from Egyptian bondage - on some Passover to come.
We sing Eliah's song, and watch expectantly and hopefully for the wine in the cup to diminish, a sure sign that Elijah has visited and the dawn of a new redemption is near.
Less known, and of more recent origin, is the custom of placing a second cup, this one filled with water, on the Seder table for a second unseen but deserving guest - the prophetess, Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron.
Well, who was it who watched wistfully as her baby brother was whisked away in a basket floating on the waters of the Nile? Who was it who, disregarding her own safety, dared to approach the Pharaoh's daughter, Princess of Egypt, and offer to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the child for her? Who was it who led the redeemed Israelite women and men in song and dance to celebrate their salvation at the Sea? Who was it, according to tradition, for whose sake a well of fresh water followed the wandering Israelites through the wilderness so they might survive the perilous journey?
It was Miriam, the Prophetess, symbol of all the courageous and worthy women who kept the home fires burning, even when the men became discouraged and despaired of redemption.
Who then is more deserving to be "toasted" with water, (a theme running through her life as a stream) and saluted for service "above and beyond" than she?
If the Cup of Elijah is one symbolizing hope for future redemption, Miriam's Cup symbolizes redemption realized through the tireless efforts of Israel's women. Let us honor her for her heroism, and through her, all the brave, capable, devoted, faithful and loyal women of Israel who have been, and continue to be, the ongoing source of Israel's strength.
Biglal nashim tzidkaniyot nig'alu avoteynu miMitzrayim. For the sake of our righteous women were our ancestors redeemed from Egypt.
So this is Maggid,
The part of the seder where we tell the story
Of leaving Egypt.
We spend more time talking about talking about the story
Then telling the actual story.
Very meta is our haggadah,
With many numbers,
Lots of fours:
Four cups of wine
Four ways of asking,
Why is this night...
by Emma Lazarus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
by Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb
Horseradish is hard to find in the hinterlands outside Gallup NM. On this dry bit of Earth, next to what's left of Navajo/Hopi/Zuni lands, Pesach was clearly going to be a new experience. I had taken the year off from Brandeis to join the Global Walk for a Livable World 1990, figuring the truest education would be to "get up and walk the land" (Gen. 13:17), and to "serve and...
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...
I'm in hour three of cleaning my kitchen and there's still no end in sight.
Crouching on my kitchen floor, refrigerator door open, food stuffs spoiling around me, I wonder
Is this what the Israelites did?
Did they throw out their moldy jars of pasta sauce and shriveled vegetables, so rotten I'm not sure what some of the things once were?
I have taken my kitchen apart in a rather manic...
Our tradition speaks of four children or four attitudes: the wise child, the wicked child, the simple child, and the one who does not know how to ask. Each child has a different reaction to hearing about slavery. . .
What does the wise child say? “What are the testimonies, the statutes, and the laws that apply to this situation? How are we to discern what God demands of us?” You are to answer...
Leader: We begin with the Passover plate. The four foods on this plate symbolize the four years of Beloit.
Leader: The first item is the bitter herbs.
All: The bitter herbs came from the hot sauce tray.
Leader: The second item is the chocolate Karpas
All: The karpas is some lettuce that we got from the salad bar. It symbolizes prosperity....
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...
The Hebrew word “Kiddush” means sanctification. But it is not the wine we sanctify. Instead, the wine is a symbol of the sanctity, the preciousness, and the sweetness of this moment. Held together by sacred bonds of family, friendship, peoplehood, we share this table tonight with one another and with all the generations who have come before us. Let us rise, and sanctify this singular moment.
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