Tonight we celebrate Passover, the Festival of Freedom. Through the symbols and texts of the Haggadah, we tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. But we are commanded to tell the story as if we ourselves had experienced the transformation of state: from slavery to freedom.
How? One way is to look to the past and imagine ourselves as participants in the story of the Exodus: by tasting the bitter herbs, we taste the bitterness of hard labor and servitude. By eating the matza, we eat the bread of affliction and poverty, which also was the bread of the Israelites' flight to freedom. By singing Dayenu, we sing of our joy at the many gifts God provided along the way. Tonight, we will tell the story of the past and try to feel as if we had been through the journey of the Exodus.
Another way to experience the transformation from slavery to freedom, though, is to look to the present: in what ways are we enslaved today? How can we create freedom and justice today? When we pose these questions, we can think of many enslavements that exist in the present. We can think of a thousand situations that call for more freedom and justice in today's world.
This Haggadah focuses on just one of those injustices, and invites us to find ways to alleviate that injustice. Tonight, we explore the issue of food justice. According to the Brooklyn Food Coalition, there are three pillars of food justice: Healthy Food for All People, Sustainable Food Systems, and Justice for Food Workers. Certain sections of the Haggadah will connect the traditonal symbols of the seder with one or more of these Food Justice pillars.
When we say "Next Year in Jerusalem" at the end of the seder, we announce our hope for a future that the ideal Jerusalem represents: a future of freedom and justice for all. May this Haggadah experience encourage all of us gathered here tonight to bring more freedom and justice into our lives and into the world - in the area of food justice, and in all areas - one bite at a time.
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