In Every Generation & Second Cup
In every generation, everyone is obligated to see themselves as though they personally left Egypt.
The seder reminds us that it was not only our ancestors whom God redeemed; God redeemed us too along with them. That’s why the Torah says “God brought us out from there in order to lead us to and give us the land promised to our ancestors.” [JewishBoston.com]
[From Leonard Fein via Barbara Carr]
This year we are slaves. What can these words mean?
We were slaves because yesterday our people were in slavery and memory makes yesterday real for us. We are slaves because today there are still people in chains around the world, and no one can be truly free while others are in chains.
We are slaves because freedom means more than broken chains. Where there is poverty and hunger and homelessness, there is no freedom; where there is prejudice and bigotry and discrimination, there is no freedom; where there is violence and torture and war, there is no freedom.
And where each of us is less than he or she might be, we are not free, not yet.
And who, this year, can be deaf to the continuing oppression of the downtrodden, who can be blind to the burdens and the rigors that are now to be added to the most vulnerable in our midst?
If these things be so, who among us can say that he or she is free?
Therefore it is our duty and privilege to say thanks, to praise, to glory, to extol and exalt,
and to bless and to stand in awe of these miracles:
That we yet come out:
- from servitude to freedom
- from sorrow to joy
- from grief to celebration
- from shadow to sunlight
- from slavery to liberation
Therefore, let us sing a new song, Halleluyah
Blessed it is that we and our forbears have become liberated from bondage, that we are able
to sit here and celebrate, eating matzah and bitter herbs. May the time come when we
celebrate future liberations and then we will sing new songs of freedom and gratitude.
Blessed is the liberation of all people everywhere. [Kehilla]
A concentration camp survivor, German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), reminds us that it is also our duty and privilege to stand up for others in solidarity:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who redeemed us and our ancestors from Egypt, enabling us to reach this night and eat matzah and bitter herbs. May we continue to reach future holidays in peace and happiness.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.
We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Drink the second glass of wine! [JewishBoston.com]
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