מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות
Mah nishtanah ha-lailah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-lailot
Why is this night different from all other nights?
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר
Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin shi’ar yirakot haleila hazeh maror.
On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables, but tonight we eat bitter herbs.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָֽנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּֽעַם אחָת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעמים
Shebichol haleilot ain anu matbilin afilu pa-am echat. Halaila hazeh shtei fi-amim.
On all other nights we aren’t expected to dip our vegetables one time. Tonight we do it twice.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין. :הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּֽנוּ מְסֻבין
Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin. Halaila hazeh kulanu m’subin.
On all other nights we eat either sitting normally or reclining. Tonight we recline.
These are the traditional answers to top question. But Passover extends beyond the four questions.
Most nights, we are desensitized to the tragedies that occur in our world.
We are fatigued by injustice, and aware that we cannot respond to every injustice that arises.
On this night, we are reminded that our legacy of resistance and community creates in us a different kind of responsibility. We hold responsibility to ourselves, our friends, family, and our communities. We must educate ourselves about the systematic injustices we each face. In order to confront injustice, we must stand with, and build allyship and coalition, between ourselves and communities we are not members of. Together, we commit to stand together and create change.
Let us add a fifth question to this year’s seder. Let us ask ourselves,
Aych nishaneh et ha-shanah ha-zot mi-kol ha-shanim?
How can we make this year different from all other years?
Let this year and this Passover recommit us to the sacred responsibility we hold to stand with one another.
Let us infuse the rituals of the seder with action:
When tasting the matzah, the bread of affliction, let us find ways to help those who are hungry.
When eating the maror, let us commit to help those whose lives are embittered by disease.
When dipping the wine, let us join with and fight for for those whose lives are threatened by violence and injustice.
When reclining, let us seek opportunities to help each other from oppression and injustice.
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