Why Do We Celebrate Passover?
Passover has been celebrated in Jewish homes for thousands of years as a way of passing on the important story of Moses and of the exodus from Egypt. Some Christian families celebrate Passover as well, because Jesus was Jewish. The famous Last Supper in the Christian tradition was actually a Passover Seder meal. We come together as one family today. Whether we are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Bahá’i, Unitarian-Universalist, Humanist or from another faith, on Passover we can all be inspired by one of the most famous stories from the Hebrew Bible, or Torah. As we read it, we appreciate our freedom and we renew our commitment to working for justice all over the world. [Boston]
We are to be together on Pesach night as if we were with the Israelites in Egypt. There is no distinction between them and us and we are to allow their fears to be ours and their redemption ours. It is a story of such power that it has been used by slaves throughout history. The story carries a profound truth within its miracles and wonders. With the right kavanah (intention) on Pesach night we can enter our own Egypt, our Mitzrayim or narrow place, wherever or whatever that is. We can relive this story and we can feel the rush of liberation. This is not only our history but our reason to keep moving forward, realizing this is a story that belongs to all humanity, if only they would listen. We are the story-tellers. [Barbara Carr]
Tonight we celebrate a story of freedom, telling the story and praying together. At the Seder we should also claim the freedom of expression—to pray as we feel most comfortable. Judaism has no name for God, or rather we have a name (YHVH), but don’t know how to pronounce it. If we did, some people would not feel comfortable saying it—too familiar. (Others would be happy to claim a first name relationship; after all we are told we are all created in the image of God.) Some people say Adonai (Lord), but to others that has a pretty strong gender reference. Yah is a shortened reference to YHVH; maybe a nickname feels good. Shechinah! Shechinah refers to the feminine attributes of God’s presence. Mix and match?
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