We were slaves in Egypt, now we are free. Let’s have a Seder! What’s on the Seder plate? Egg, herbs, bone, greens, charoset Let’s drink some wine. Why is this night different? Why is this child different? Ten plagues on the Egyptians. Enough already – Dayeinu! Drink wine again. Matzah, Maror, Hillel sandwich, let’s eat! Where’s the Afikoman? Thanks for the food! Drink some more Wine. Open the door for Elijah! Drink some wine – last one. Thanking and singing. Next year in Jerusalem!
The Seder Plate
We place a Seder Plate at our table as a reminder to discuss certain aspects of the Passover story. Each item has its own significance.
Maror – The bitter herb. This symbolizes the harshness of lives of the Jews in Egypt.
Charoset – A delicious mix of sweet wine, apples, cinnamon and nuts that resembles the mortar used as bricks of the many buildings the Jewish slaves built in Egypt
Karpas – A green vegetable, usually parsley, is a reminder of the green sprouting up all around us during spring and is used to dip into the saltwater
Zeroah – A roasted lamb or shank bone symbolizing the sacrifice made at the great temple on Passover (The Paschal Lamb)
Beitzah – The egg symbolizes a different holiday offering that was brought to the temple. Since eggs are the first item offered to a mourner after a funeral, some say it also evokes a sense of mourning for the destruction of the temple.
Orange - The orange on the seder plate has come to symbolize full inclusion in modern day Judaism: not only for women, but also for people with disabilities, intermarried couples, and the LGBT Community.
Matzah is the unleavened bread we eat to remember that when the jews fled Egypt, they didn’t even have time to let the dough rise on their bread. We commemorate this by removing all bread and bread products from our home during Passover.
The fifth ceremonial cup of wine poured during the Seder. It is left untouched in honor of Elijah, who, according to tradition, will arrive one day as an unknown guest to herald the advent of the Messiah. During the Seder dinner, biblical verses are read while the door is briefly opened to welcome Elijah. In this way the Seder dinner not only commemorates the historical redemption from Egyptian bondage of the Jewish people but also calls to mind their future redemption when Elijah and the Messiah shall appear.
Another relatively new Passover tradition is that of Miriam’s cup. The cup is filled with water and placed next to Elijah’s cup. Miriam was the sister of Moses and a prophetess in her own right. After the exodus when the Israelites are wandering through the desert, just as Hashem gave them Manna to eat, legend says that a well of water followed Miriam and it was called ‘Miriam’s Well’. The tradition of Miriam’s cup is meant to honor Miriam’s role in the story of the Jewish people and the spirit of all women, who nurture their families just as Miriam helped sustain the Israelites.
1. What do you consider your “promised land,” or heaven on earth?
2. In Hebrew, the word for Egypt is “Mitzraim,” which literally means “narrow place.” What is one way that you wish for our society to be more open?
3. Moses is considered one of the greatest leaders in our history — he is described as being smart, courageous, selfless and kind. Which of today’s leaders inspires you in a similar way?
4. Miriam was a prophetess and the sister of Moses who, after crossing the Red Sea, led the women in song and dance with tambourines. She is described as being courageous, confident, insightful and nurturing. Which musician or artist today inspires you in a similar way?
5. More recent and ongoing struggles for freedom include civil rights, GLBTQ equality, and women’s rights. Who is someone involved in this work that you admire?
6. Is there someone — or multiple people — in your family’s history who made their own journey to freedom?
7. Freedom is a central theme of Passover. When in your life have you felt most free?
8. If you could write an 11th commandment, what would it be?
9. What’s the longest journey you have ever taken?
10. How many non-food uses for matzah can you think of? Discuss!
11. Let’s say you are an Israelite packing for 40 years in the desert. What three modern items would you want to bring?
12. The Haggadah says that in every generation of Jewish history enemies have tried to eliminate us. What are the biggest threats you see to Judaism today?
13. The Passover seder format encourages us to ask as many questions as we can. What questions has Judaism encouraged you to ask?
14. Israel is central to the Passover seder. Do you think modern Israel is central to Jewish life? Why or why not?
15. The manna in the desert had a taste that matched the desire of each individual who ate it. For you, what would that taste be? Why?
16. Let’s say you had to swim across the Red Sea, and it could be made of anything except water. What would you want it to be?
17. If the prophet Elijah walked through the door and sat down at your table, what’s the first thing you would ask him?
18. Afikoman means “dessert” in Greek. If you could only eat one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
19. What is something you wish to cleanse yourself of this year? A bad habit? An obsession or addiction?
20. The word “seder” means “order.” How do you maintain order in your life?
Download the PDF here: https://www.jewishboston.com/20-table-topics-for-your-passover-seder/
To wash your hands, you don’t need soap, but you do need a cup to pour water over your hands. Pour water on each of your hands three times, alternating between your hands. If the people around your table don’t want to get up to walk all the way over to the sink, you could pass a pitcher and a bowl around so everyone can wash at their seats… just be careful not to spill!
Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do.
Let's pause to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together tonight. Go around the table and share one hope or expectation you have for tonight's seder.
- Emma Goldman
Passover is the celebration of life. The story of the Jewish people is truly a triumph of life. Against the odds of history, the Jewish people have done more than survive - we have adapted creatively to each new time, each new place, from the birth of our people to the present day.
Even though death has pursued us relentlessly, time and time again, we have chosen to live. During the many centuries of the Jewish experience, memories of destruction are tempered by the knowledge that the world can also be good.
We have endured slavery and humiliation. We have also enjoyed freedom and power. Darkness has been balanced by light.
Our forebears traveled the Earth in search of the safety and liberty they knew must exist. We have learned to endure. We have learned to progress.
We are proud survivors. We celebrate our good fortune and seek the advancement of all.
One of the customs of the seder is the asking of questions - questions about what the ritual actions of the seder mean. The Passover tradition involves the youngest children asking - actually singing - about these matters in a song we call "The Four Questions."
"As Jews, we remember and we cannot let injustice happen again in this country. This is our moment to bend the moral arc and to move racial justice work forward through advocacy, activism, and engagement." -- Tiffany Harris
"Our relative safety in American has allowed many of us to consider the fight for racial justice as struggle we can opt in and out of. But then are we fully honoring our traditional teaching of 'If I am only for myself, what am I?' Now is the moment for us to stand against injustice not only for ourselves, but for the most vulnerable among us." -- Chava Shervington
"Because those in the grips of Pharoah's institutional oppression have been given a platform to see their greatness and be seen as great. Because the Passover seder tells us to remember and protect them, as it says: 'The night of (worthy) protection for all future generations... (Exodus, 12:42)'" -- Isaiah Rothstein
"Maybe it isn't different and you're just treating it that way. Or maybe it is. But you're insisting that it doesn't need to be treated differently." -- MaNishtana
Download the PDF Pyramid Cut Out for your seder table at http://rpr.world/passover-pyramid
Tonight, let’s speak about four people striving to engage in racial justice. They are a complicated constellation of identity and experience; they are not simply good or bad, guileless or silent. They are Jews of Color and white Jews. They are Mizrahi, Sephardi, and Ashkenazi; they are youth, middle-aged, and elders. They are a variety of people who are at different stages of their racial justice journey. Some of them have been on this journey for their entire lives, and for some, today is the first day. Some of them are a part of us, and others are quite unfamiliar.
What do they say? They ask questions about engaging with racial justice as people with a vested interest in Jewishness and Jewish community. How do we answer? We call them in with compassion, learning from those who came before us.
WHAT DOES A QUESTIONER SAY?
“I support equality, but the tactics and strategies used by current racial justice movements make me uncomfortable.”
Time and time again during the journey through the desert, the Israelites had to trust Moses and God’s vision of a more just future that the Israelites could not see themselves. As they wandered through the desert, eager to reach the Promised Land, they remained anxious about each step on their shared journey. They argued that there must be an easier way, a better leader, and a better God. They grumbled to Moses and Aaron in Exodus 16:3, “If only we had died by the hand of God in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the cooking pot, when we ate our fill of bread! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to starve this whole community to death.” Despite their deep misgivings, they continued onward.
As we learn in our Passover retelling, the journey toward liberation and equity can be difficult to map out. In the midst of our work, there are times when we struggle to truly identify our own promised land. We see this challenge in various movements, whether for civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, workers’ rights, and others. In our retelling of these struggles for justice, we often erase conflicts of leadership, strategy debates, or even the strong contemporaneous opposition to their successes. Only when we study these movements in depth do we appreciate that all pushes for progress and liberation endure similar struggles, indecision, and pushback.
WHAT DOES A NEWCOMER SAY?
“How do I reach out and engage with marginalized communities in an authentic and sustained way?”
We tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt year after year; it is a story not only about slavery and freedom, but also a story of transition. At its core, the Passover story is about the process of moving from oppression to liberation. It informs us that liberation is not easy or fast, but a process of engagement and relationship building.
As the Israelites wandered in the desert, they developed systems of accountability and leadership. Every person contributed what they could given their skills, passions, and capacity to create the mishkan, the Israelites’ spiritual sanctuary in the desert. As it says in Exodus 35:29, “[T]he Israelites, all the men and women whose hearts moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD, through Moses, had commanded to be done, brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD.”
Those of us engaging or looking to engage in racial justice work can learn from that example. We need to show up, and keep showing up. We can spend time going to community meetings, trainings, marches, protests, and other actions while practicing active listening and self-education. Only by each person exploring their own privileges and oppressions, whatever they may be, can we show up fully and thoughtfully in this racial justice work.
WHAT DOES A JEW OF COLOR SAY?
“What if I have other interests? Am I obligated to make racial justice my only priority?”
The work of racial justice is not only for People of Color; it is something everyone must be engaged in. Most Jews of Color are happy to be engaged in racial justice, whether professionally, personally, or a mix of both. However, we nd too often the burden of the work falls on our shoulders. The work of racial justice cannot only fall to Jews of Color.
Instead, all Jews who are engaged in tikkun olam, repairing the world, should be engaged in the work of racial justice. Following the leadership of Jews of Color, white Jews must recognize their own personal interest in fighting to dismantle racist systems. When white Jews commit to racial justice work, it better allows Jews of Color to take time for self-care by stepping away from the work or focusing on a different issue. As Rabbi Tarfon writes in Pirke Avot 2:21, “It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either.”
WHAT DOES AN AVOIDER SAY?
“I am so scared of being called a racist, I don’t want to engage in any conversations about race.”
Engaging in conversations about difficult and personal subjects takes time and practice. When Joseph first began having prophetic dreams as a young man, he insensitively told his brothers that despite his youth, they would eventually bow down to him. In Genesis 37:8, Joseph’s brothers respond by asking, ‘“Do you mean to rule over us?” And they hated him even more for his talk about his dreams.’ However, as he matured, his dreams became his method of survival. As Joseph learned how to share his dreams with people in power, he was able to reunite with his family and create a period of incredible prosperity in Egypt.
We will make mistakes when engaging in racial justice. It is part of the process. Engaging in racial justice conversations can be painful and uncomfortable; it is also absolutely essential. We must raise up the dignity and complexity in others that we see in ourselves and our loved ones. Empathy for people of different backgrounds, cultures, religions, and races moves us to have these difficult conversations. Compassion for ourselves allows us to keep engaging through any guilt or discomfort.
Download the Full PDF Here: http://rpr.world/the-four-people
The Passover Haggadah recounts ten plagues that afflicted Egyptian society. In our tradition, Passover is the season in which we imagine our own lives within the story and the story within our lives. Accordingly, we turn our thoughts to the many plagues affecting our society today. Our journey from slavery to redemption is ongoing, demanding the work of our hearts and hands. Here are ten “modern plagues”:
In any given year, about 3.5 million people are likely to experience homelessness, about a third of them children, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. A recent study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed the majority of major cities lack the capacity to shelter those in need and are forced to turn people away. We are reminded time and again in the Torah that the Exodus is a story about a wandering people, once suffering from enslavement, who, through God’s help, eventually find their way to their homeland. As we inherit this story, we affirm our commitment to pursue an end to homelessness.
About 49 million Americans experience food insecurity, 16 million of them children. While living in a world blessed with more than enough food to ensure all of God’s children are well nourished, on Passover we declare, “Let all who are hungry come and eat!” These are not empty words, but rather a heartfelt and age-old prayer to end the man-made plague of hunger.
Access to affordable housing, quality health care, nutritious food and quality education is far from equal. The disparity between the privileged and the poor is growing, with opportunities for upward mobility still gravely limited. Maimonides taught, “Everyone in the house of Israel is obligated to study Torah, regardless of whether one is rich or poor, physically able or with a physical disability.” Unequal access to basic human needs, based on one’s real or perceived identity, like race, gender or disability, is a plague, antithetical to the inclusive spirit of the Jewish tradition.
In the Talmud, the sage Ben Zoma asks: “Who is wealthy? One who is happy with one’s lot.” These teachings evidence what we know in our conscience—a human propensity to desire more than we need, to want what is not ours and, at times, to allow this inclination to conquer us, leading to sin. Passover urges us against the plague of greed, toward an attitude of gratitude.
Discrimination and hatred
The Jewish people, as quintessential victims of hatred and discrimination, are especially sensitized to this plague in our own day and age. Today, half a century after the civil rights movement in the United States, we still are far from the actualization of the dream Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. articulated in Washington, D.C., a vision rooted in the message of our prophets. On Passover, we affirm our own identity as the once oppressed, and we refuse to stand idly by amid the plagues of discrimination and hatred.
Silence amid violence
Every year, 4.8 million cases of domestic violence against American women are reported. Each year, more than 108,000 Americans are shot intentionally or unintentionally in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, accidental shootings and by police intervention. One in five children has seen someone get shot. We do not adequately address violence in our society, including rape, sex trafficking, child abuse, domestic violence and elder abuse, even though it happens every day within our own communities.
Humans actively destroy the environment through various forms of pollution, wastefulness, deforestation and widespread apathy toward improving our behaviors and detrimental civic policies. Rabbi Nachman of Brezlav taught, “If you believe you can destroy, you must believe you can repair.” Our precious world is in need of repair, now more than ever.
Stigma of mental illness
One in five Americans experiences mental illness in a given year. Even more alarming, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment, and minority communities are the least likely to search for or have access to mental health resources. Social stigma toward those with mental illness is a widespread plague. Historically, people with mental health issues have suffered from severe discrimination and brutality, yet our society is increasingly equipped with the knowledge and resources to alleviate the plague of social stigma and offer critical support.
We are living through the worst refugee crisis since the Holocaust. On this day, we remember that “we were foreigners in the land of Egypt,” and God liberated us for a reason: to love the stranger as ourselves. With the memory of generations upon generations of our ancestors living as refugees, we commit ourselves to safely and lovingly opening our hearts and our doors to all peace-loving refugees.
When faced with these modern plagues, how often do we doubt or question our own ability to make a difference? How often do we feel paralyzed because we do not know what to do to bring about change? How often do we find ourselves powerless to transform the world as it is into the world as we know it should be, overflowing with justice and peace?
Written in collaboration with Rabbi Matthew Soffer of Temple Israel of Boston
Suddenly a man named Nachshon started walking into the water. The water was up to his knees…no splitting. The water rose up to his waste…no splitting. The water was up to his chest…still no splitting. Not until the water was under Nachshon’s nose did the sea split and all the Israelites walked across singing Micah Mocha and praising G-d.
A lot of people interpret that the miracles of this story were the result of G-d being a show off and trying to demonstrate his powers. I take it another way, I say that G-d just needed people to believe in him and then he came through. The message of this story is that we need to take action before God helps us. We need to take the first step into the “sea” because G-d won’t help us until we try to help ourselves, our world, and our community.
However, some commentators suggest that maybe Nachshon was pushed into the sea and didn’t necessarily intend on becoming a leader. He was just some random guy who was at the right place at the right time. In this scenario, Nachshon becomes a hero for something he wasn’t even intending on doing. I personally like the idea of Nachshon being a leader and coming out of the crowd, standing along the banks, and deciding to step into the water without anyone else having anything to do with it.
In real life, we have a little of both. We are often put into the position of the Nachshon who was pushed, and into the shoes of the Nachshon that walked. We often try to be the brave Nachshon that walks into the water, but we are really the Nachshon that was pushed. Regardless of what you believe, we can all realize that most often we are somewhere in the middle of being pushed and walking intentionally.
What is a Miriam’s Cup?
A Miriam’s Cup is a new ritual object that is placed on the seder table beside the Cup of Elijah. Miriam’s Cup is filled with water. It serves as a symbol of Miriam’s Well, which was the source of water for the Israelites in the desert. Putting a Miriam’s Cup on your table is a way of making your seder more inclusive.
It is also a way of drawing attention to the importance of Miriam and the other women of the Exodus story, women who have sometimes been overlooked but about whom our tradition says, "If it wasn’t for the righteousness of women of that generation we would not have been redeemed from Egypt" (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 9b).
There are many legends about Miriam’s well. It is said to have been a magical source of water that followed the Israelites for 40 years because of the merit of Miriam. The waters of this well were said to be healing and sustaining. Thus Miriam’s Cup is a symbol of all that sustains us through our own journeys, while Elijah’s Cup is a symbol of a future Messianic time.
This is the Cup of Miriam, the cup of living waters. Let us remember the Exodus from Egypt. These are the living waters, God’s gift to Miriam, which gave new life to Israel as we struggled with ourselves in the wilderness. Blessed are You God, Who brings us from the narrows into the wilderness, sustains us with endless possibilities, and enables us to reach a new place."
Miriam's cup should be passed around the table allowing each participant to pour a little water form their glass into Miriam's cup. This symbolizes the support of notable Jewish women throughout our history which are often not spoken about during our times of remembrance.
The Matzah is to remind us that before the dough our ancestors prepared for bread had time to rise, God revealed the might, power and presence of God unto them and redeemed them.
The Bitter Herbs are to remind us that the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt.
In gratitude for the miracles which God has performed for our ancestors and for us from the days of old to this time, we raise our cups of wine and together we say:
Therefore, we should¬ thank and praise, laud and glorify, exalt and honor, extol and adore God who performed all these miracles for our ancestors and for us. God brought us from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to joy, from mourning to festivity, from darkness to great light, and from bondage to redemption.
Let us, then say...
The blessing over the meal and matzah | motzi matzah | מוֹצִיא מַצָּה
The familiar hamotzi blessing marks the formal start of the meal. Because we are using matzah instead of bread, we add a blessing celebrating this mitzvah.
בְָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ:
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.
We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who brings bread from the land.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתַָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה:
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.
We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat matzah.
Distribute and eat the top and middle matzah for everyone to eat.
In this spirit, consider symbolically setting aside a table setting or opening the door to the 60 million refugees and displaced people around the world still waiting to be free — for all those who deserve to be welcomed in not as strangers but as fellow human beings.
Question: Why do Jews from Gibraltar sprinkle a little bit of brick dust into their charoset? Answer: To remind them of the bricks that the Israelite slaves were forced to make.
Question: What do Hungarian Jews place on the Seder table to represent the precious gifts given to the Israelites as they departed Egypt? Answer: Gold and Jewelry
Question: When they read the piece of the Haggadah that begins “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt” (In Hebrew “Avadim Hayinu”), Jews from this country take a pillowcase filled with heavy objects and carry it on their backs around the table. Answer: Syria
Question: Which symbol from the seder plate do the Kavkazi Jews of the Caucasus hide for the children to find instead of the matza? Answer: An Egg
Question: Why do many Middle Eastern Jewish families whip each other with scallions at the Seder table? Answer: To mimic the whips of slave drivers in Egypt.
Question: Because Moses floated in the river what item do many Jews of Tunisia decorate with a colored cloth in this, and place on the Seder table? Answer: A basket
Question: At Passover, the Abayudaya Jews of what country celebrate the anniversary of the overthrow of the brutal dictator Idi Amin, who outlawed the practice of Judaism? Answer: Uganda
Question: At the beginning of the Seder, what do Jews from Morocco pass above their heads three times while reciting "In haste we came out of Egypt”? Answer: A Seder Plate
Question: Tunisian Jews place a fish bowl with live fish swimming in it on the Passover table. Which part of the Exodus story does this commemorate? Answer: The crossing of the Red Sea
Question: What do Iraqi Jews tie to the back of a small child while telling them to guard it until end of the Seder? Answer: The Afikomen
Question: In which country is the Seder “interrupted” by a knock on the door by a member of the family dressed up as a nomad. The leader of the Seder asks: “Where are you coming from?” (Egypt) Where are you going?” (Jerusalem). Answer: Iraq
According to research done by Be’chol Lashon, 20% of American Jews identify as African American, Latinx, Asian, mixed race, Sephardi and Mizrahi. This year, join us as we celebrate Passover rituals from diverse Jewish communities and traditions.
Download the PDF place cards here: https://werepair.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Passover_Place_Cards.pdf
"AFIKOMAN" MEANS "DESSERT" IN GREEK.
IF YOU COULD ONLY EAT ONE DESSERT
FOR THE REST OF YOIUR LIFE
WHAT WOULD IT BE?
There is a word in Hebrew — Teshuvah — that means return. It is an acknowledgement that there is always a chance for forgiveness, redemption and change. Our traditions teach that Passover is open to all. Everyone is welcome at this table. There is always room. Because no one is ever turned away, there is always an opportunity for a rebirth of spirit.
As a sign of hospitality to all, we open the door to our homes and symbolically invite anyone who wants to join us to come inside.
At this point, the children open the door.
All day I try to say nothing but thank you, breathe the syllables in and out with every step I take through the rooms of my house and outside into a profusion of shaggy-headed dandelions in the garden where the tulips’ black stamens shake in their crimson cups.
I am saying thank you, yes, to this burgeoning spring and to the cold wind of its changes. Gratitude comes easy after a hot shower, when my loosened muscles work, when eyes and mind begin to clear and even unruly hair combs into place.
Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute, and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I remember who I am, a woman learning to praise something as small as dandelion petals floating on the steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup, my happy, savoring tongue.
We all carry around ideas and images of reality, frequently garnered from other people or from courses we have taken, books we have read, or from television, the radio, newspapers, the culture in general, which give us pictures of how things are and what is occurring. As a result, we often see our thoughts, or someone else's, instead of seeing what is right in front of us or inside of us. Often, we don't even bother to look or check how we feel because we think we already know and understand. So we can be closed to the wonder and vitality of fresh encounters. If we are not careful, we can even forget that direct contact is possible. We may lose touch with what is basic and not even know it. We can live in a dream reality of our own making without even a sense of the loss, the gulf, the unnecessary distance we place between ourselves and experience. Not knowing this, we can be all the more impoverished, spiritually and emotionally. But something wonderful and unique can occur when our contact with the world becomes direct.
We will celebrate again, next year, in the promised land!
Now is the time to know that our service tonight has found favor in the eyes of the Redeemer. Nirtzah is not a prayer which attempts to fix what was, or even a joyful offering to God of what has just come to be. Nirtzah is an assertion of hope. It is the confidence that the true fruit of our service tonight will be a redeemed future. The power of Nirtzah lies in our knowledge that we have succeeded in telling a story of our past which now infuses our present with joy. And that our rejoicing in freedom has planted within us the seeds of our future. May our present joy become the fertile ground out of which a truly redeemed future will grow − l’shana haba’ah b’Yerushalayim habenuyah! Next year in the Jerusalem of which we dream!
At the end of the seder, we honor the tradition of declaring, “Next year in Jerusalem!”
For us, "Next year in Jerusalem!" is a symbol, not necessarily about the physical location of Jerusalem, but a symbol of hope, holiness, and the joining together of different communities. In this context, Jerusalem is not a physical place but a metaphor for the spiritual and emotional place where we want to be in the year to come.
This year, let us work for:
Peace in societies torn by war
Freedom from bigotry and oppression
Equality for minorities shunned by prejudice and hatred
Respect for the aspirations and humanity of women and girls
Acceptance for people persecuted for who they are or whom they love
Sustenance for communities living in hunger
A safe harbor for refugees and survivors of violence
And the promise of dignity and human rights for all
Together, with those around this Seder table and with our global family connected by our collective pursuit of justice, we hope: "Next year in a more just world." And through our actions from this Passover to the next, let us make this dream a reality.
What experiences give you hope for the future? What lessons have we learned from past and present injustices and how can they help us combat future injustice within the legal system and beyond?
לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם
L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim
"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference." Elie Wiesel
Think freely. Smile often.
Tell those you love that you do.
Rediscover old friends. Make new ones.
Hope. Grow. Give. Give in.
Pick some daisies. Share them.
Keep a promise.
Reach out. Let someone in.
Hug a kid. Slow down.
See a sunrise. Listen to rain. Trust life.
Have faith. Enjoy. Make some mistakes.
Learn from them. Explore the unknown.
I Still Believe
Source: Diary of Anne Frank
That’s the difficulty in these times: ideals, dreams, and cherished hopes rise within us, only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered.
It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us, too. I can feel the suffering of millions – and yet, if I look up to the heavens, I think it will come out all right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.
Adir hu, Adir hu
Yivei baito b’karov.
El b’nai, El b’nai,
b’nai baitcha b’karov.
Bachur hu, gadol hu, dagul hu
Hadur hu, vatik hu, zakai hu, chasid hu
Tahor hu, yachid hu, kabir hu, lamud hu, melech hu
Nora hu, sagiv hu, izuz hu, podeh hu, tzadik hu
Kadosh hu, rachum hu, shadai hu, takif hu
On seder night, there are two moments where we metaphorically open our doors and invite others in. One is at the opening of the Magid portion of the seder, when we say, “All who are hungry come and eat.” There is a beautiful message here: we were once slaves; poor and hungry, and we remember our redemption by sharing what we have with others.
The other, comes towards the end of the seder, when we have the custom of pouring a fifth cup of wine, which we claim is for Elijah the Prophet. This is a statement of faith, a statement that says that although we are a free people, our redemption is not yet complete, and we believe that it will come.
From the most downtrodden to the most celebrated, the message is clear: everyone is welcome and everyone is necessary. Why is it that we go out of our way to include all at our seder table? Perhaps it is because when we make room for others, we have the opportunity to make room for ourselves as well. In fact, the Mishnah (Pesahim 10:5) teaches us that:
בכל דור ודור חייב אדם לראות את עצמו כאילו הוא יצא ממצרים In every generation a person is obligated to see themselves as if they left Egypt
The seder presents us with the obligation of identifying with the generation that left Egypt and internalizing that experience. And through that internalization, we come to feel the redemption as if it was our own as well to - לראות את עצמו. Further, the reliving of the story of the Exodus affords us the opportunity see one’s true self. It is only when we are able to see ourselves clearly, that we are able to be redeemed. But perhaps the only way we are able to see ourselves, is when we are truly able to see those around us. This message of inclusion is Pardes’s message too, and our hope is that this Haggadah Companion which offers something for everyone, will add new meaning to your seder and help bring the Jewish people a little closer together.