We are the descendants of a people that were liberated from slavery. Through the experience of our exodus we learned many things that we can and should carry with us in this modern age-- there is oppression and suffering in the world but if the people are united and righteous the powers that oppress can be confronted and thus things can change.
We Jews remember ourselves as having been slaves who rebelled against the existing order and freed ourselves from bondage. That process of liberation required us to believe it was possible to once again be free—to believe that change was possible and imminent. To successfully navigate the terrain of this revolutionary journey required that we as a people maintain a strong will and an alternative culture in the face of dehumanizing masters.
Had there been no liberation, there would never have been a Jewish people—no Moses, no Isaiah, no Jesus, no Mohammed, no Freud, Marx or Trotsky, and certainly no Abbie Hoffman. Without this first freedom movement, this exodus of Passover, we would be without the philosophical, intellectual and political exoduses brought forward by the ancestors of those who ran from Pharoh’s lands.
Every Jewish holiday (and most of the rituals) include wine. We will drink four cups of wine throughout the seder tonight (if we stick to non-revolutionary rules). With this first cup we drink to the spirit of liberation and revolutionary change and give thanks to G-d for carrying us out of Egypt and allowing us to come together tonight in this the promised land of the Jews, Manhattan.
The following Seder is for a weeknight. (On Shabbat we add the words in parentheses)
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p'ri hagafen.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has created the fruit of the vine.
On Saturday night include the following section:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מְאוֹרֵי הָאֵשׁ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמַבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחֹל, ין אוֹר לְחשֶׁךְ, בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים, בֵּין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בֵּין קְדֻשַּׁת שַׁבָּת לִקְדֻשַּׁת יוֹם טוֹב הִבְדַּלְתָּ, וְאֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִשֵּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה קִדַּשְׁתָּ. הִבְדַּלְתָּ וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֶת עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּקְדֻשָּׁתֶךָ. ,בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְקֹדֶשׁ
( Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei m'orei ha-eish.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol bein or l'choshech, bein Yisrael la-amim, bein yom hashvi-i l'sheishet y'mei hama-aseh. Bein k'dushat shabat likdushat yom tov hivdalta. V'et-yom hashvi-i misheishet y'mei hama-aseh kidashta. Hivdalta v'kidashta et-am'cha yisra-eil bikdushatecha. Baruch atah Adonai, hamavdil bein kodesh l'kodesh.)
(Praised are You Adonai our God Lord of the universe who created the lights of fire.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes a distinction between the holy and profane, light and darkness, Israel and the nations, Shabbat and the six workdays. You have made a distinction between the holiness of Shabbat and the holiness of the festival, and You have sanctified Shabbat above the six work-days. You have set apart and made holy Your people Israel with your holiness. Praised are you, Adonai, who distinguishes between degrees of sanctity.)
Say this Shehechiyanu blessing the first Seder night only:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶה
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam,
she’hecheyanu v'ki'manu v'higi-anu laz'man hazeh.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe,
who has sustained us, maintained us and enabled us to reach this moment in life.
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