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Haggadah for the Liberated Lamb: bilingual, illustrated, 140 pages
"A vegetarian haggadah that celebrates compassion for all creatures."
This Haggadah is a saga about creation and the emergence of the Jews. Much of the text is traditional, except for passages that celebrate the covenantal relationship the animal enoyed in the Bible. Included in prayers and blessings in Torah, we also include the animal in a ritual remembrance. Vegetarianism is a pledge to take creaturely life seriously. Meat is never included in the description of diet in the Bible, which is confined to agriculural products, whose constantly recurring expression is "grain and wine and oil."(Deut. 11:14) or the seven agricultural products enumerated in Deut 8:8. The blessing Isaiah bestows on the virtuous is "You shall eat the good things of the earth." Among the visions in Isaiah is the need for reconcilation between the natural and the historical human. Vegetarianism is a step towards that reconcilation.
We say with the psalmist:
Yours is the earth
And all that dwell therein
Teach us to walk in this wisdom
In the path of the Just
Teach us to know Your greatness by Your creatures:
That Your tender mercy is upon them all
Thus, in place of a shank bone on this seder table, in addition to bitter herbs, greens and charoset, we place a plate of olives, grapes, and unfermented barley, based on Deut.. 24: 19-15, in which we are commanded to leave the second shaking of the olive trees and the grape vines for the poor and not to muzzle the ox who treads out the wheat in the fields. We call these the "mitzvoth of compassion for oppressed creatures." The seder is concluded when we open the door to our homes, lift the cup of Elijah and invite blessing on the earth.
This night is different because on this night we eat our ancient meal of herbs, seeds, and fruits ot the earth as we ate it in
Eden; we eat matzoh which we ate in the desert as we fled slavery and established the festival of freedom.
Bilingual, illustrated, 60 pages
Similar in spirit to Haggadah for the Liberated Lamb, Haggadah for the Vegetarian Family is shorter and the text and illustrations are more child-friendly. Much of the text and order are tradtional, but slavery, as a condition of both humans and animals, is stressed:
The stroy of how Jocheved put Moses in a basket on the Nile is told in the context of the universal spirit of maternal empathy:
"Throughout the ages parents have resorted to all sorts of tricks to rescue their chilren: they have put them on trains and on boats and into the hands of strangers so that their chldren could be taken our of an evil country into safety. Animals too will do anything they can to defend their young, even at the cost of their own lives. Wolves will risk gunfire from hunters to rescue their orphaned young."
The seder should be "a teachable moment." Thus this haggadah expands the idea of slavery to animal life and to the problem of slavery in the modern world: "There are more slaves in the world today than when the Anti-slavery Society was established in 1832. There is slavery in Africa, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Pakistan, Lebanon....This slavery consists of selling women and children into forced marriages, harems, and prostitution. There is alo child labor, chattel labor, debt slavery, and bond slavery."
We extol the part played by women in the liberation of slaves, like Harriet Tubman, in the 19th century, who was called "Moses" by her people.
We praise the Creator for the liberation of all people and the liberation of nature:
Ha Shem has prepared a feast for us on this night
Manna and matzoh, honey, seeds and herbs
Hei Haoilamim feeds us from the earth
All creation praises the Creator of the Universe
the cows of the field gather together and sing
the cattle in Ninevah sing
Sing, oh sing, acacia, tower in all your splendor, you who are decked in golden embroidery praised in the inmost sanctuuary.
Hei Haolamim set the stars in the skes
Hei Haolamim set Israel upon her land,
Set the creatures upon the earth, marked off the waters from the hills,
shaped each creature with its genius, each lamb to know ts mother
each calf to know its field
each hen to guard her nest
each bird to feed its young
and Israel to know Your Presence.