In Every Generation
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In Every Generation
There have been many suggestions as to Judaism's most fundamental concept. Here's my candidate: In each and every generation, each of us must see ourselves as if we left Mitzrayim.
Rav Kook says each of us took something from that experience that the world needs before it can be fully redeemed. Our father Abraham knew well how to argue with God, but he didn't argue when told his descendants would be slaves for 400 years. We needed to live through the affliction, and come out onh the other side, in order to empower others to do the same. We remind ourselves, each year, of our history and our responsibility.
We are commanded not to oppress the alien in our midst. That alone requires much intention. But, like God and our neighbor, the Torah commands we love the alien, the stranger, the undocumented farmworker or nanny. Why? Because we were aliens in the Land of Mitzrayim. The Torah is explicit: our experience in Egypt demand us to empathize with those who are in similar states of vulnerability. That's our contribution to redemption.
Pour the Second cup: resistance to oppression [Read:] In every generation, a Pharaoh rises up to enslave us. In every generation, every human being must seek to free the community anew. [All join in singing:] When Israel was in Egypt's land, Let my people go; Oppressed so hard they could not stand, Let my people go! (Chorus:) Go down, Moses, 'Way down in Egypt's land; Tell ol' Pharaoh, Let my people go! Thus...
There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek. After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal… and win a prize.
We eat matzah in memory...
Passover is a holiday about freedom. The Passover seder is a special ceremonial dinner in which we gather together to retell the story of the Israelite's freedom from bondage in Egypt. The Hebrew word for this Holiday, "Pesach" has two meanings. The first is "Passing over" and refers to the fact that the angel of death passed over the Israelite's homes. Pesach can also refer to the pascal lamb -- which was ritually...
We are free, but we remember when we were slaves. We are whole, but we bring to mind those who are broken. The middle matzah is broken, but it is the larger part which is hidden. Because the future will be greater than the past, and tomorrow’s Passover nobler than yesterday’s exodus. The prospects for the dreamed future are overwhelming to the point of making us mute. So it is in silence, without blessing, that we...
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...
The Seder is all about answering questions. But one question remains unanswered, and that’s the most important question – Why? We are taught, “ In every generation, each person must see him/herself as if s/he were redeemed from Egypt.” But why? Why return to Egypt year after year? Why re-taste the bitterness of slavery? Ask the Torah – What difference does this experience...
Source 1: Babylonian Talmud
Context: The Babylonian Talmud is a collection of Jewish stories, laws and debates grounded in the Bible and other Jewish texts. It was compiled in the fifth century in modern-day Iraq, but many portions of it are much older. Here, the Talmud quotes and comments on a passage from a second-century text called the Mishnah. The Mishnah asks, “How long must a person live in a city to be...
With the fourth cup of wine we remember God’s promise to take the Israelites as God’s own people. Just as God took on the Israelite people, we pledge to look out for the different members of our community. As citizens of the United States we share certain rights of citizenship, such as a social safety net, equal access to employment, student aid, and jury service. However, these rights are...
The world was awakened and shattered by the images of a little boy whose body lay lifeless amidst the gentle surf of a Turkish beach this past summer. Another nameless victim amongst thousands in the Syrian Refugee Crisis, the greatest refugee crisis since WWII. But this little boy, like every little boy ,had a name. His name was Aylan Kurdi (age 3), he drowned along with his older brother, Galip (age 5), and their...
I grew up in an irreligious home. We rarely belonged to a Temple (Synagogue was too traditional) and attending a service was even rarer. When we did go to temple you would never a yarmulke except on the Rabbi & Cantor (sometimes). The only tallitot were these little vest things that the clergy wore. The only Hebrew was the Sh'ma, the Torah/Haftarah readings and the Mourner's Kaddish (which is really...
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This fifth cup of wine has passed down through generations of women, beginning with Sarah. It has spilled and, yet, like the bush on fire but never consumed, the glass continues to overflow. The Kabbalists (the Maharal, 16th c., Prague) believe that we drink 4 cups of wine in memory of our 4 matriarchs. The fifth cup, named for Miriam who led us through the straights of Reed Sea in song and dance, is in memory of...
Sometimes I lay under the moon And thank God I'm breathin' Then I pray don't take me soon' Cause I am here for a reason
Sometimes in my tears I drown But I never let it get me down So when negativity surrounds I know someday it'll all turn around because
All my life I been waitin' for I been prayin' for, for the people to say That we don't want to fight no more They'll be no more wars and our children will...
When you come to the land which Y-H-W-H will give you, as He has spoken, you are to keep this service!
And it will be when your children ask you, "What does this service (mean) to you?" Then say, "It is a Paschal offering to Y-H-W-H who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Mitzrayim when he struck Mitzrayim but saved our homes."