Infertility and Apples
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Infertility and Apples
Early in the Exodus story Pharoah’s decreed hard labor for the Children of Israel and that their baby girls may live but their baby boys may not. Despite this harsh reality, they continued to have children. The Midrash teaches that this is connected to apples. The women would take their husbands to the fields to entice them. They would conceive and then return to the fields to give birth and prevent the Egyptians from killing their sons. This all happened under apple trees as it says in Song of Songs 8.5: “ under the apple tree I roused you; it was there your mother conceived you, there she who bore you conceived you.”
During enslavement in Egypt, one of the ways the Children of Israel expressed their spiritual freedom was by conceiving their future. Literally. Their hope was that the next generation would serve God and not Pharoah.
Some among us, however, are not free to conceive their future. Their hopes and dreams are enslaved by fertility challenges. Infertility can feel like a form of bondage: bodies that feel broken or unable to perform as we wish, decisions that seem impossible at times to navigate, and circumstances that seem out of our control.
On Passover we eat charoset to symbolize the clay our ancestors used to hold together the bricks they were making. The charoset also represents the sweetness of their redemption to serve God. By adding apples to our charoset, we invoke these symbols as well as the connection to fertility. We connect our past, present and future with the Song of Songs, the apple trees, intimacy, conception, birth and redemption.
Meditation for making and eating charoset with apples for those experiencing fertility challenges:
God of our ancestors, our souls are afflicted.
While we may be free in most ways, our dreams of fertility seem out of reach.
With the sweetness of these apples, comes the bitter taste of disappointment and loss.
Under the apple tree – shade us with your blessings.
Under the apple tree – may we find comfort with each other.
Under the apple tree – help us conceive a hopeful future.
Creator and Redeemer of all, let this charoset strengthen our souls.
May the sweetness of its apples linger with us.
Grant us clarity and hope along the way
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SALT WATER - Why do we dip our food in salt water two times on this night?
The first time, the salty taste reminds us of the tears we cried when we were slaves.
[Greens held up for all to see.]
KARPAS - Parsley and celery are symbols of all kinds of spring greenery.
The second time, the salt water and the green can help us to remember
the ocean and green plants...
Egypt, no sleet or snow for sure, not even rain or the usually hail.
Nourished only from an ancient wide stream,
On which women secretly shared the boy of redemption.
Our Seder recalls the signs and marvels, the plagues, the costly victory.
We will honor our timeless bread and play with sweet mortar; taste bitterness and tears.
We drink past our fill.
God will split their...
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When we bless the green parsley and dip it in the salty water, we remember the spring, and we remember the long, sad years of our slavery.
When we left Egypt,
we bloomed and sprouted,
and songs dripped from our tongues
like shimmering threads of nectar.
All green with life we grew,
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dense as bricks.
All green in...
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