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Passover TARDIS

03/27/2018 07:02:42 PM

Mar27

The Passover seder exerts a strong pull on our people. Many studies and polls show that across the spectrum of observances and beliefs it’s the most widely-observed Jewish ritual outside of the High Holy Days.

At its core, the seder is a Jewish time-traveling psychodrama, a biblio/rabbinic-drama, a fine expression of Judaism as an Evolving Religious Civilization: Our people’s TARDIS (ask a fan of Doctor Who to explain).

Among the reasons for its endurance may be its many signature passages. Some may resonate more with you than others, and they thrive on their flexibility. The proliferation of “themed” haggadot and haggadah supplements offer ways to structure the prescribed rituals that highlight contemporary issues such as modern slave trafficking, vegetarianism, or the occupation in Israel/Palestine.

The traditional symbols on the table have also lent themselves to expansion and adaptation. In addition to the characteristic items on the seder plate – roasted egg, roasted shank bone (or beet), haroset, parsley, maror, and sometimes hazeret – there may be an orange, a tomato, fair trade chocolate, a lock and key, and next to Elijah’s cup, a Miriam’s Cup filled with water.

Here’s the thing: inclusion is inextricably linked to the questions raised at the seder, and the paradigms used to tell the story: four questions about why things are different at this particular moment; four offspring who see and experience the world so differently that they ask four profoundly different questions to launch the story-telling.

What – and whom - shall we include this year? How shall the gatherings we host or attend make note of what – and who – is left out, left behind in Mitzrayim – not a particular country on a map, but any country that constricts and restricts human rights? For what we celebrate at our seders, is, at its core, the freedom to disregard borders, and our obligation to see ourselves as perpetually connected to the experience of seeking and finding refuge.

Our fabled liberation compels us not only to retell the story, but to manifest that opportunity for others, in our time. This community’s Shalom Group awaits the arrival of a family from the Middle East. If the analogy to a fictional time-traveling device may seem a stretch, just think of the seder experience and what it inspires in us not as fan fiction, but as Jewish Fan Reality. We can, and must, Let All People Go.

Have a joyous and meaningful Passover!

- Rabbi Liz

Wed, April 25 2018 10 Iyar 5778