Passover and Human Rights: A Meditation from a Christian Perspective
Please Donate to Haggadot.com
We rely on support from users just like you! Please donate
today to keep maintaining this free resource!
Customandcraft.org is a fiscally sponsored project of Jewish Jumpstart (EIN: 26-2173175) which is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt California public benefit corporation. Your gift is tax deductible to the
extent allowed by law.
Thank you for your donation.
Landscape / Booklet
Print Update coming in 2017
Share this Clip with your friends, family,
community and social networks with just one click.
Copy and paste the URL of this Clip to share or view.
Open in new window
Share This Clip on Social Networks
Passover and Human Rights: A Meditation from a Christian Perspective
by Professor David Gushee
The Passover story communicates the fearsome commitment of God to the human rights of suffering people. Because Pharaoh would not let God’s people go, God finally inflicted that grievous last recompense on Pharaoh’s people, while passing over the households of the Jews whose liberation had been so long in coming.
This story reveals God as one who not only hears the cries of the oppressed, but delivers them from bondage into freedom. It shows a God who confronts injustice, including leaders who believe themselves to be so powerful as to be beyond critique or correction. It suggests that a nation that commits injustice and violates human rights (or passively allows its leaders to do so) ultimately will pay a price for it, even if for a long time it seems that such wickedness will last forever. That is true even if its injustices are inflicted in the name of national security, as were Pharaoh’s evil deeds; as are so many of our world’s greatest human rights violations.
In the Passover story, Egypt’s firstborn end up paying the price for Pharaoh’s sins. In the New Testament narrative, God takes the accumulated weight of injustice and human sin onto his own shoulders at the Cross. The community formed in response is then responsible for serving as a force for justice and healing so that there need be no more victims either of injustice or as collateral damage of the confrontation with injustice.
Together we await the healing of the world. Together we do our part to contribute to such a world.
As a Christian, Gushee understands Passover as a form of imitatio dei, imitating God’s demand for freedom from oppression. He connects Pharaoh’s actions, done in the name of protecting Egyptian security, to similar justifications for human rights violations in our own country.
Whom do we allow to be enslaved to protect our own interest and safety as Americans or as Jews?
Gushee writes: “a nation that commits injustice and violates human rights (or passively allows its leaders to do so) ultimately will pay a price for it, even if for a long time it seems that such wickedness will last forever.” In what ways is this true in our own country? In the world?
David P. Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University, and President of Evangelicals for Human Rights. He is the author or editor of 11 books on Christian ethics.
Here is a kid and adult friendly alternative to for the Maggid section (the Passover story section) of the Haggadah. This short play is in the style of "sedra scenes" -- a contemporary take which makes the story current but stays true to the Exodus narrative. I've written it for large crowds -- so there are 13 parts, but if you have a smaller gathering you can easily double up.
The world’s refugee camps are some of the most desolate backdrops against which people fleeing violence and persecution rebuild their lives. The Akre Refugee Camp in Iraq, which houses hundreds of Syrian families, was built out of the remains of a former Saddam Hussein prison. The Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, one of the world’s most populous refugee camps, consists of endless rows of beige tents and caravans...
Who can say we’ve actually left? “Wherever you live, it is probably Egypt,” Michael Walzer wrote. Do you live in a place where some people work two and three jobs to feed their children, and others don’t even have a single, poorly paid job? Do you live in a community in which the rich are fabulously rich, and the poor humiliated and desperate? Do you live among people who worship the golden calves of obsessive...
Breaking the middle matzah | yachatz | יַחַץ
There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek. After dinner, the guests must hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up...
Throughout our history, violence and persecution have driven the Jewish people to wander in search of a safe place to call home. We are a refugee people. At the Passover Seder, we gather to retell the story of our original wandering and the freedom we found. But we do not just retell the story. We are commanded to imagine ourselves as though we, personally, went forth from Egypt – to imagine the experience of being...
Alla fyller på nytt sina vinglas.
Vi läser Ps 126. "En vallfartssång. När Herren vände Sions öde, då var allt som om vi drömde: vi skrattade, vi sjöng av glädje, och jublet steg från våra läppar.
En av gästerna fortsätter:
Då sade man bland folken: Herren har gjort stora ting med dem! Ja, Herren gjorde stora ting med oss,...
"A Not-So-Serious Passover Play for the Classroom or the Dining Room" by S. Mitchell
CHARACTERS: Slave Narrator, G_d (as a voice offstage), Moses, Aaron, Burning Bush, Pharoah
SLAVE NARRATOR: In Egypt we Hebrews had a difficult life. All day we worked under the whips of the taskmasters, making bricks and stacking them into giant pyramids, using nothing but our bare hands and a mixture of apples, raisins...
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...
The Fifth Question: What can we do to help alleviate poverty?
There are numerous charities which aim to get donations to end poverty. It is important to make food and money to these various charities to help others. We must remember that we were once "strangers in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 23:9). This quote appears numerous times in the Torah and explains to us to have sympathy for others because we were once...
More Clips from Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Hamotzi thanks God for bringing bread from the earth. This bread results from a partnership between God and humanity: God provides the raw materials and people harvest, grind, and bake. So too must we remember that combating human trafficking requires partnerships: among survivors, allies, lawyers, social workers, law enforcement, diplomats, people of faith…the circles of involvement are...
Our hands were touched by this water earlier during tonight's seder, but this time is different. This is a deeper step than that. This act of washing our hands is accompanied by a blessing, for in this moment we feel our People's story more viscerally, having just retold it during Maggid. Now, having re-experienced the majesty of the Jewish journey from degradation to dignity, we raise our hands in holiness, remembering...
The beauty of Urchatz was revealed to me during a women's seder. Each participant washed the hands of another with care and kavanah (intentionality)—and without words. The sisterhood created in the sacred silence elevates communal consciousness. How will we utilize this state of purity? V'ahavtah l're'echa kamochah - to love the other as ourself.
How will this ancient wisdom propel us...