Passover is a holiday where we practice empathy and experiment with our powers of imagination. We try to picture what it’s like to have been a slave, to feel the bitter pain of suffering, and then to live the joy of freedom.
Empathy and imagination is also key to being a male ally at the Passover table and in your day-to-day life.
At Passover this year, try to imagine what it might feel like to come to the Seder every year and for the leader of the Jewish people to always be a woman? And for G-d to always be embodied as a female in visual representations and in the language we use?
Is there a chance you might feel slightly disempowered from identifying with the story and your religion?
Would it feel a little weird if the last plague was only on the first-born daughter? I know I would feel a bit less important and left out, even if it meant I wouldn’t have had a chance of dying ;)
This is why it’s so important to find space in the Haggadah for female heroines like Miriam and rituals like having oranges on the Seder plate, or for role evolutions in the Seder service like having a woman lead the Seder.
Lastly, in your day-to-day life, try to practice similar thought experiments not just about gender, but also about race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and any other type of difference.
Where is there suffering due to a lack of space and representation? For instance, if a family member makes an insensitive joke, can you call them out on it, instead of letting it go?
Where can empathy be employed to free others to live more equally? For instance, if you own a business, can you provide employees of other faiths time off to observe their own holidays?
For more practical information, check out this guide to allyship.
The more we use our powers of imagination and practices of empathy, the more we realize the paradox that while we are all different, we are all also one.