Are you looking for a sense of purpose and inspiration? Would you like to articulate an organizing principle for your life? Want to connect to an ancient lineage of courage and hope? The Passover Seder awaits you.
Come gather and tell the story of how a collection of slaves, bent over and nearly broken by a cruel tyrant and his megalomaniacal vision, were rescued and freed from that oppressive hand. Come reaffirm the Jewish People’s most fundamental assertion — that we are not alone in our suffering, but rather, there is an animating energy of life that supports and sustains us. Come celebrate Judaism’s central aspiration: that on the journey of life we wish above all to serve and to align ourselves with a vision of liberation and justice. Come stand like Moses against tyranny.
Come and teach this story to the next generation, as our Torah tells us. Discuss and question, elaborate upon and explore the countless layers of meaning embedded in our ancient tale, as the Haggadah instructs us to do. Come eat the ritual foods — the matzah, the bitter herbs, the haroset, the greens and the salt water — as we take this story and what it teaches into our bodies. We ingest the story, metabolize it. We become a part of the story, and the story becomes a part of us.
When we fully embrace all the elements of the Seder, we experience its power on every level. We link ourselves in time to an unbroken chain of Jewish generations, reaching back thousands of years, and we become a link in that chain as we extend it towards the next generation. We link ourselves in space to all the people celebrating Passover around the world. We link ourselves to the flow of the seasons as we celebrate the rebirth and joy of springtime in harmony with our human story of liberation. We remember that to harden our hearts is a sin. We remember to empathize with those who are oppressed and crushed in body and spirit. We affirm the deepest truths of Judaism: that every human is a child of the One God, and therefore, every human is deserving of fundamental dignity and respect.
The spiritual and the political are not at odds on Passover; they come into sublime and powerful alignment. Come stand at the Burning Bush and witness the life energy that flows through every atom of creation. Take off your shoes as you remember once again that anywhere we stand can be holy ground, if we can but notice. Then, hear the call of Being Itself that transcends time and space: “I am fully aware of the suffering of my people, have heard their cry at the hands of their slavedrivers, and I feel their pain. So now, go to Pharaoh and tell him to let My people go. I did not create humanity in My image so that they might be reduced to chattel. No! I created them so that they might recognize and serve Me, Being Itself, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, Life Unfolding!” (See Exodus, Chapter 3)
Are you looking for a sense of purpose and inspiration? The Passover Seder awaits you.
Want to read more from Rabbi Jonathan Kligler?
Check out his book Turn It and Turn It: For Everything Is In It. Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion sold by our Reconstructionist store, Read & Rite.