ANOTHER SET OF ANSWERS
Traditionally the Torah speaks of the four types of sons to describe the four types of Jews. Tonight we will speak of four different people using this ritual to share their spirituality: (1) the Traditionalist, who is active, knowledgeable and involved in his or her Judaism, (2) the Humanist or Secular Jew, who has a sense of the Jewish community that drives his or her social activism, (3) the Buddhist, whose heritage is at least partly Jewish, but who seeks enlightenment through other paths, (4) the Friend, a non-Jewish person interested enough to join us this evening. Each of these represents attitudes and questions concerning the nature of this ritual and the nature of being a Jew in today’s world.
Traditionalist: Why do we find a need for this non-traditional Seder? We need a Seder that articulates the Divine in Creation, in Nature, in Love and in both traditional Judiasm and Eastern Philosophies. Although our theologies may differ, we are all sharing a universal experience that leads to an increased awareness of Ayn Sof in our lives. One of the messages of Jewish history is that we are a chosen people when we choose Hashem. What has been unsaid, is that we are special because everyone is a special child of God. This non-traditional Seder seeks to include everyone in the Telling of the liberation from Egypt. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord, and shall be my people; and I will dwell within your midst. Zechariah 2:11
Humanist: Why are we having a Seder at all? Jewish tradition speaks of working for tikkun olam, the healing of the world. Jews have often been at the forefront of social change movements. It is time we recognize that our Jewish heritage can motivate us toward inner work that may result in increased social justice. As Jews, we can be leaders in recognizing and sharing the process of healing the pain of the world. The Passover story is the story of our ongoing struggle for liberation and this ritual is a celebration of past liberation struggles of Jews and of all people. The ritual is a renewal of our commitment to being part of the ongoing process of liberation from the many internal and external Pharaohs who would oppress us.
Buddhist: What does the Seder mean to you? To be fully who we are, we must claim all parts of ourselves. Only when we quiet our minds, and recognize and acknowledge our internal oppression can we truly work to end it. The Dalai Lama says that the first step in changing the world is trying to improve ourselves, which “brings change within yourself. That will help change your family. From there it just gets bigger and bigger. Everything we do has some effect, some impact.” We live in a world of ideas, and when ideas are shared they spread. When others incorporate peaceful and compassionate ideas into their own lives and belief systems, those ideas become much stronger. This Seder is about sharing and reinforcing the essential truths that comes from all spiritual paths. Every human being desires freedom from suffering. Having learned that it ispossible to escape from suffering, we are called to participate in the healing and transformation of all humanity. This message is essential to humanity’s growth and development. Differing cultures and backgrounds necessitate many paths to guide people to enlightenment.
Friend: Where do I fit into this festival? The story of Passover is the story of an ongoing struggle of liberation. In various ways, we are all committed to moving towards freedom and enlightenment. As non-Jewish people joining in the celebration of a Jewish holiday of freedom, we look at our own heritage and our struggle for freedom. We see our shared oppression as women, as men, as people of color, as __________, or as members of any other oppressed group. We hear the call to work for freedom for everyone.
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