Whether this is the first or fiftieth seder you’ve attended, reassessing the themes of the seder challenges each of us to connect to the traditions on a personal, individual level. Here are a few recurring themes that arise in the story of Passover:
1. Redemption: In the Exodus story, the Jews were redeemed physically from slavery as well as spiritually and mentally.
2. Creation: Passover is known by several names in Hebrew, including Chag HaAviv, holiday of the spring. Pesach celebrates spring, rebirth, and renewal, symbolized by the green “ karpas ” and the egg on the seder plate. It is also a time of “beginning,” as exemplified by the first grain harvest and the birth of Israel as a nation. Also, Nissan, this Hebrew month, was traditionally seen as the first month of the Jewish year. Editor's Note: Nissan is also Nelson's Hebrew name & let us acknowledge the humor here given that (a) he is not the first Kier son, (b) wasn't born at this time of year, and (c) has never owned a Nissan. But the word Nissan also means "Miracles" and so this editor thinks it a very apt name for Nelson :)
3. Education: Four different times in the Torah, the Jews are commanded to repeat the story of the Passover.The seder is centered around teaching the story of the exodus from Egypt-- and infact, Haggadah means “the telling.” Two of our most important readings address education head on: the four questions and the four sons. Even at a seder like tonight without children present, the night takes on an educational feel. Let it be noted that thought-provoking inquiry and supportive debate are encouraged, though volume escalation and aggressive debate are not!
4. Patterns of Four: Throughout the seder, you may notice the number four being repeated in many guises. Among other patterns of four at the seder, we drink four cups of wine, ask four questions, and speak about four types of children.
Additional Themes: Traveling Light, Carbohydrates, & Bitterness!
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