We begin the Seder by lifting the Matzah and naming it Lechem Oni, which means the “Bread of Affliction.” We remember what it means to live without dignity; to be afflicted, enslaved, and powerless. That memory sows our empathy for those who are powerless today. We ask, “Who else shares in this story?” And the Haggadah answers, “All those who are hungry come and eat … we are now slaves and next year may we be free.” All humanity can share in the “Bread of Affliction” because we all share the need and the drive to work towards freedom.
They are Us
Hamida’s three children were killed when her village in Darfur was attacked by the Janjaweed. Mbela will never have children after being brutally raped by Congolese rebels. Jill lost her job at the law firm and isn’t sure how she will be able to keep her home and feed her children. When our dignity is lost, when we are wronged, we feel powerless – afflicted. When we’re safe, but those we love struggle, we are afflicted. When humanity is suffering, we are all afflicted.
Tell a story of your own affliction. To what have you felt enslaved? How did you find freedom?
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