We are thankful that we live in a fertile & plentiful country and for the fresh produce we enjoy as a result. We dip twice during the seder. We dip karpas in salt water which reminds us of the tears we shed for our enslavement in Egypt and we dip maror, the bitter herb, symbolic of our suffering, in the sweet charoset. Thus, both times combine bitter & sweet, just as the seder combines the sweetness of acknowledging our freedom with the bitterness of remembering the suffering of our ancestors.
Fighting oppression has often involved violence just as slave insurrections in the Americas were justifiable but brutal and bloody. The creation of our homeland was forged in blood. The Palestinian’s fight for a homeland is forged in blood. We must remember not just the suffering of our ancestors but the suffering our ancestors inflicted upon others justifiably and unjustifiably in the course of our history.
As Judith Butler says, the precariousness of life is an idea that runs through Jewish thought and it refers to all life not just Jewish life. Often one person’s freedom is another’s enslavement. Bitter and sweet often go hand in hand.
We should all take a small piece of green vegetable and dip it into salt water.
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