I don’t know about you, but Passover has always been my favorite holiday. In addition to the great food and gathering of family and friends, here’s why I love Passover.
After a few preliminary blessings and rituals, the Magid, or “Recitation” of the Passover story in the Haggadah begins this way:
“Ha lachmaanya/This is the bread of affliction our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let anyone who is hungry, come in and eat. Let anyone who is needy, come in and make Passover. This year we are here; next year we shall be in the land of Israel. This year, we are slaves; next year we shall be free (b’neichorin, literally, “children of liberty”).”
What an opening and what a message! With these few words (written in Aramaic, the vernacular of the time to ensure complete understanding), we are being told to reach out to the hungry, the needy, the poor, the stranger, the vulnerable – to anyone who is “afflicted”. And not just to reach out to them, but also to share what we have – whether we have a lot or a little! Moreover, we are reminded that we are still in Egypt (“this year we are here”), still enslaved. The implied message: we have yet to redeem the world, still broken by wars, bigotry, a vast refugee crisis, poverty, and all manner of oppression.
And yet, each year, we boldly state: “Next year, we will all be children of liberty.” In other words, each year, we boldly state: The work continues. We still have hope!
I hope your Passover is inspiring and filled with warmth as you gather around the Seder table and beyond.
Rabbi Susan (To help with this, here are some resources):
www.jewishrecon.org/pineapple (from the Reconstructionist Movement)
www.truah.org/opendoor (from T’ruah, a Rabbinic Call for Human Rights)
Haggadah supplement(from the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and the Religious Action Center)
LGBTQ Celebratory Passover Resource Guide(from Keshet)