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.
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...
We all know aboutPassover, that holiday when we Jews whip out our flat, cracker-like matzah, talk about the massive exodus from Egypt, and drink a whole lot of Manischewitz wine. As it happens, though, there are a few other things you might want to know about Passover! Here are some facts about the holiday that you probably never knew:
Passover is an...
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For a well-formatted printable ritual, and for more information about Rabbis Organizing Rabbis, please visit http://www.rac.org/ror/
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At Passover each year, we read the story of our ancestors’ pursuit of liberation from oppression. When confronting this history, how do we answer our children or our contacts when they ask us how to pursue justice in our time?
WHAT DOES THE REVOLUTIONARY CHILD ASK?
“The Torah tells me, ‘Justice, justice you shall pursue,’ but how can I pursue justice?”
Empower him always to seek pathways...
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Use this piece before singing Hallel and think about what it means to transition from slavery to freedom.
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Around our tables sit four daughters.
The Wise daughter understands that not everything is as it appears.
She is the one who speaks up, confident that her opinion counts. She is the one who can take the tradition and ritual that is placed before her, turn it over and over, and find personal meaning in it. She is the one who can find the secrets in the empty spaces...
Passover is a time for us to reflect on our own freedom and an opportunity to connect our lives with the struggles of others. At AVODAH, we support emerging Jewish leaders as they work to address some of the most pressing issues in the fight against poverty. We study the complex (and often overlapping) systemic issues that impact people in our country, and explore how Jewish tradition calls on us to respond. This year,...
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...
Tonight we gather together to celebrate Passover, our holiday of freedom. We will eat a great meal together, enjoy (at least!) four glasses of wine, and tell the story of our ancestors’ liberation from slavery in Egypt. We welcome our friends and family members from other backgrounds to reflect with us on the meaning of freedom in all our lives and histories. We will consider...
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