10 Plagues - Love and Justice in Times of War

Reader 1: The idea of justice embodied in our story is direct and unquestioned—punishment for punishment, murdered children for murdered children, suffering for suffering. The people of Mitzrayim suffered because of their own leader, who is in part set-up by an angry G-d eager to demonstrate his own superiority. In our story, all of this was necessary for freedom. Jews have been troubled by this for generations and generations, and so, before we drink to our liberation, we mark how the suffering diminishes our joy by taking a drop of wine out of our cup of joy for each of the ten plagues visited on the people of Mitzrayim.

Reader 2: We are about to recite the ten plagues. As we call out the words, we remove ten drops from our overflowing cups, not by tilting the cup and spilling some out, but with our fingers. This dipping is not food into food. It is personal and intimate, a momentary submersion like the first step into the Red Sea. Like entering a mikvah (a ritual bath).

Reader 1: We will not partake of our seder feast until we undergo this symbolic purification, because our freedom was bought with the suffering of others.

Reader 2: As we packed our bags that last night in Egypt, the darkness was pierced with screams. Our doorposts were protected by a sign of blood. But from the windows of the Egyptians rose a slow stench: the death of their firstborn.

Reader 1: Soften our hearts and the hearts of our enemies. Help us to dream new paths to freedom. Reader 1: So that the next sea-opening is not also a drowning; so that our singing is never again their wailing. So that our freedom leaves no one orphaned, childless, gasping for air.

For each plague flick or pour a drop of wine onto the plate.

Dam.............Blood Tzfardeyah.............Frogs Kinim.............Lice Arov.............Wild Beasts Dever.............Blight Shichin.............Boils Barad.............Hail Arbeh.............Locusts Choshech.............Endless Night Makat B’chorot.............Slaying of the First-Born

Reader 3: The Pharaoh of the Passover story is not just a cruel king who happened to live in a certain country. The Pharaoh that our ancestors pictured, each and every year, for century after century was for them every tyrant, every cruel and heartless ruler who ever enslaved the people of his or another country. And this is why Passover means the emancipation of all people in the world from the tyranny of kings, oppressors and tyrants. The first emancipation was only a foreshadowing of all the emancipations to follow, and a reminder that the time will come when right will conquer might, and all people will live in trust and peace.

Now, we commemorate some of the plagues that ravage our present-day societies. ( Everyone may call out current plagues and spill drops of wine.)

haggadah Section: -- Ten Plagues
Source: Adapted from Love and Justice in Times of War Haggadah