Getting ready for Passover

This year, for the first time in years, I'm neither hosting a seder nor traveling to see my family for Passover.  We're going to a friend's house for the first night, and to the community seder put on by our congregation the second night.  It feels odd.

Over the weekend, I made the raspberry flame version of the Chocolate Oblivion Torte from the Cake Bible, and I just sent my friend a few of my favorite Passover readings.  My all time favorite is probably the sermon that Dr. King gave the night before he was killed.  Some years Passover falls right on the anniversary, but it's appropriate any year.

I also like this bit:

Rabbi Michael Lerner teaches that the story of the departure
from Egypt was more than a single people's liberation from slavery: it was the revelation of
the divine message that the world as it is can be radically, awesomely
transformed for the good. That fundamental change for freedom and justice is
possible — this Pesach, in our all-too-frequent dejection at the state of the
world, let us remember yitziat mitzrayim, the going forth from Egypt, and
remember that if such an event is possible, then hope, not despair, is at the
core of the universe.

In the Torah, it is written that the people of Israel “went
into the sea, upon dry land.” Then, the Midrash tells us, one man, Nachshon by
name, displayed his commitment to freedom by walking into the sea. Only at the
moment when the water reached his neck, when he could go no further on his own,
did the sea part. Only when the Israelites had taken the first steps, trusting
in God, did God intervene to save them. Nachshon's act of faith and courage
opened the way from Egypt to freedom. He enabled us all to be reborn into
freedom.

Rachel Barenblat has turned Michael Walzer's musings on Exodus and Revolution into verse in her Haggadah.

Standing
on the parted shores of history

we
still believe what we were taught

before
ever we stood at Sinai’s foot;

that
wherever we go, it is eternally Egypt

that
there is a better place, a promised land;

that
the winding way to that promise passes through the wilderness

that
there is no way to get from here to there

except
by joining hands, marching

together.

2 Responses to “Getting ready for Passover”

  1. Madeleine Says:

    I love that your passion for Passover and your passion for your work are so intermingled.
    Another person suggested a related Seder reading — RFK’s speech on the night that King was killed. Also terrific.
    http://www.rfkmemorial.org/lifevision/assassinationofmartinlutherkingjr/

  2. dave.s. Says:

    here’s a nice Passover story from Volokh:
    Civil War Passover Stories: The Fall 2008 issue of the American Jewish Historical Society’s Heritage magazine has some great stories. Here’s one:
    More problematic was the situation of Union soldiers who, unable to hold their own Seders, were forced to “fraternize” with local Southern Jews. Myer Levy of Philadelphia, for example, was in a Virginia town one Passover late in the war when he saw a young boy sitting on his front steps eating a piece of matzo…. When Levy asked the boy for a piece, the child fled indoors, shouting at the top of his lungs, “Mother, there’s a damn Yankee Jew outside.” The boy’s mother invited Levy to Seder that night.

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