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Bad times. Chewing on bad times.
In our family, we have a custom of biting into a big chunk of horseradish during the Seder. Faces turn red; eyes wince; we're burning from the inside.
And then it is over. A big "Aahhh". Everyone takes a big breath. We've survived maror .
The bitterness of maror is an essential part of Seder. The Torah tells us that the Paschal sacrifice should be eaten together with maror to remind us how the Egyptians embittered our lives with hard, mind-numbing work.
Slavery imprinted trauma on our souls that did not disappear when we crossed the Red Sea. Generations of anguish - physical and spiritual - do not just vanish. They linger in the inner recesses of our lives, waiting to be triggered. They can control us.
The bitterness of disempowerment and persecution is still with us, whether or not we choose to acknowledge it. We need to revisit the bitterness every year - to face it, taste it, and conquer it.
With the exhaling of the "Aahhh" comes fresh hope of moving ahead. We will not let lingering bitterness paralyze or diminish us. We have confronted it head on, and survived to tell the Haggada.
Activity for Seder:
Is there any difficult moment in Jewish History that gives you hope?
The Leader of the Seder only, now washes his/her hands from an ewer into a bowl held
by another celebrant, wiping them dry on a hand towel. We have accepted the need for
leadership, we wash the leaders's hands. This small, formal act of service is a symbol of
our recognition of their leadership. This is an ancient Jewish...
Pineapple- Pineapples by nature are sweet and sour, so too is life if you face the effects of depression and anxiety. The pineapple has a hard and prickly shell that one must work through to receive the rewards of its sweet and acidic fruit. Let this be a symbol of those locked in the inner shell of depression, anxiety or any other illness that detracts from the joys of living life to the fullest. “May the source of...
The bitter herbs serve to remind us of how the Egyptians embittered the lives of the Israelites in servitude. When we eat the bitter herbs, we share in that bitterness of oppression. We must remember that slavery still exists all across the globe. When you go to the grocery store, where does your food come from? Who picked the sugar cane for your cookie,
or the coffee bean for your morning coffee? We are...
Read and Discuss
The Three Levels of Oppression: Ilan Gur Ze'ev
The First level:
In our opinion, the first level of oppression, primitive oppression, is expressed by inflicting aggressive force (physical violence) in order to force someone to act against their will and interest. Uprising against this kind of oppression is possible...
I will deliver you...
Just as we remember all of the times throughout history when the nations of the world shut their doors on Jews fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands, so, too, do we remember with gratitude the bravery of those who took us in during our times of need — the Ottoman Sultan who welcomed Spanish Jews escaping the Inquisition, Algerian Muslims who protected Jews during...
Many refugees find themselves in multiple countries before they find a permanent place to begin rebuilding their lives. If they do not speak the language in those countries, refugees face even greater challenges finding employment, and everyday tasks like filling out forms or trying to purchase food can feel nearly impossible. Children confront language barriers in school. The language of instruction may be the language...
A HEBREW LESSON ON THE ROOT-WORD S-D-R
How is the festival meal of Passover different from the meal eaten at other holiday celebrations? For one thing, the Passover repast is consumed in the context of a scripted dramatic arrangement, a (seder), from the Hebrew verb (le-sadder), "to arrange."
There are, to be sure, similar arrangements in Jewish ritual and textual life. The daily prayer book, which...
Dayenu means "it would have been enough." And not in a kvetchy/sarcastic way! Dayenu is a sincere expression of gratitude, of the Jewish people's cup overfloweth.
There are many any verses in the Hebrew proclaiming how it would have been enough just to be brought out from slavery in Egpyt, to get the Torah, to be gifted Shabbat, etc...
In this version, you may sing some, all or none of the traditional...
My Angry Self – Violent and oppressive things are happening to me, the people I love and people I don’t even know. Why can’t we make the people in power hurt the way we are all hurting?
Expressing our anger, releasing our anger, knowing and claiming our anger is an important step in the process of liberation, but hatred and violence can never overcome hatred and violence. Only love and...
We all carry around ideas and images of reality, frequently garnered from other people or from courses we have taken, books we have read, or from television, the radio, newspapers, the culture in general, which give us pictures of how things are and what is occurring. As a result, we often see our thoughts, or someone else's, instead of seeing what is right in front of us or inside of us. Often, we don't even bother to...
Korech: Mixing the Bitter and the Sweet
One of my favorite moments of the seder comes just before dinner is served. It is called Korech. It is also known as the Hillel sandwich. It is the moment when we eat maror (the bitter herbs) and the charoset (the sweet apple and nut mixture) on a piece of matzah. What a strange custom to eat something so bitter and something so sweet all in one...
If we were to end a single genocide, but not stop the wars that kill people as we sit here.
it would not be sufficient
If we were to end those bloody wars, but not disarm the nations
it would not be sufficient
If we were to disarm the nations, but not prevent some people from starving while others wallowed in luxury
it would not be sufficient
If we were to make sure that no...
More Clips from Eric Schiffer
Charoset - everyone's favorite.
When the table is full of matza, maror, a boiled egg, and lettuce, how could anyone not love the mixture of nuts, dates, cinnamon, apples, and wine? But it's not so easy to find the connection between charoset and Pesach.
The Talmud mentions that charoset 's thick consistency...
On the Second night of Pesach, we begin counting the Omer. 50 days from The Exodus to Sinai, from Pesach to the Harvest. The harvest of Barley at Pesach until the Harvest of Wheat at Shavuot. Traditionally, the Rabbis interpret the counting as reflecting Israel's eager anticipation of the giving of the Torah at Sinai on Shavuot.
Here I am, ready to perform the mitzvah of counting the...
Had G-d upheld us throughout 2,000 years of Dispersion,
But not preserved our hope for return...
Had G-d preserved our hope for return,
But not sent us leaders to make the dream a reality...
Had G-d sent us leaders to make the dream a reality,
But not given us success in the UN vote in 1947...
Had G-d given us success in the UN vote in 1947,
But not defeated our...