[Someone says/does each of the following. One participant lifts up the matzah, showing it to the celebrants, and says:]
Why do we eat this flat, unleavened matzah? Because the decision to act came upon our forebears so quickly that their dough had not yet risen when You, the Breath of Life, bore them to freedom through a hurricane of transformation.
Blessed are You, Yah, Breath of Life, who makes us holy by connecting us with all of life, and has breathed into us the wisdom to transform this unleavened, pressed-down bread of the poor into the bread of liberation.
Barukh atah YHWH elohenu ruakh ha-olam asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav vitzivanu al akhilat matzah."
Participant lifts up the bitter herbs, showing them to the celebrants. These bitter herbs we eat, what is the reason for them? Because being forced into tight and narrow places cramps the abundance and creativity of all of life and makes life bitter.
Blessed are You, YHWH our God, Breathing Spirit of the universe, who makes us holy by connecting us to the eating of herbs so bitter they take away our breath.
Barukh atah YHWH elohenu ruakh ha-olam asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav vitzivanu al akhilat maror.
[All eat the bitter herb.]
Why this charoset? Because charoset embodies the Song of Songs, bringing nuts and raisins, apricots and apples, spice and juices, into a joyful celebration of the earth and springtime and each other.
Why this egg? — Because the springtime is a time of rebirth, when we can bring new possibility, new freedom, into our lives.
Why this olive? Because for millennia the olive branch has been the symbol of peace, and we seek to make peace where there has been war.
Why this orange? Because in olden days there was no orange on the Seder Plate and it was said that outsiders — gay men and lesbians, transgendered people, converts, those who lack some important ability or skill, the unlearned — all these no more belonged in the community than an orange belongs upon the Seder plate. So we place an orange to say firmly, All these belong in our communities.
The power that flows upwards from the consent, support, and nonviolent activity of the people is not the same power that flows downward from the state by virtue of its command of the instruments of force, and yet the two kinds of power contend in the same world for the upper hand.
The prosperous and mighty of our day still live at a dizzying height above the wretched of the earth, yet the latter have made their will felt in ways that have already changed history, and can change it more.
Their cooperative power has as its chief instrument direct action, both noncooperative and constructive. This power can be spiritual in inspiration but doesn't have to be. Its watchwords are love and freedom, yet it is not just an ideal but a real force in the world.
It must now be brought to bear on the choice between survival and annihilation. Whether combined with violence, as in peoples war, sustained by a constitution, as in democracy, or standing alone, as in satyagraha or living in truth, it is becoming the final arbiter of the public affairs of our time and the political bedrock of our unconquerable world.
— Jonathan Schell, The Unconquerable World
[Before the Seder, invite everyone to bring a physical item that symbolizes their own sense of becoming free. Put these also on the table; each person explains it.]
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