Tag Archives: Haggadah

Listening While the Matzah Breaks

To remember:

  • some new approaches to making our seder more spiritually meaningful > this essay = reflection upon that process at greatest night of Jewish storytelling
  • desire to better “hear” + “experience” story unfolding at seder table
  • as a people lost so much storytelling tradition, at least in the sense of the listener hearing deeply and allowing the story to draw them into altered states of consciousness or deeper awareness of their reality. 
  • simple changes made in the seder.
  • Saturday night after Shabbat > explore ways of making the seder more deeply meaningful
  1. breaking of the matzah should be a moment that opens us up spiritually + makes us “hear” Haggadah in a deeper way
  2. slowing up chanting of the brachot = way to deepen awareness of blessing + set stage for a more spiritual experience of the seder.
  • Rav Shmuel’s Shabbat HaGadol shuir explored act of reclining during seder, various commentary on it, rules around it, + spiritual reasons behind it.
  • Imrei Emet > exodus only an imperfect redemption => each generation + each person uncovers some new aspect of freedom, of perfecting the redemption
  • open our minds to the depth of the seder, > create possibility of spiritual experience in which we can uncover something.
  • spiritual one-ness = oneness of G-d  > interrelated system operating in balance producing beauty + wholeness => humans may strengthen or disrupt that unity => you can hear + hearken to G-d as One, + to the responsibility you assume for the world.
  • Rebbe Nachman’s reflection on the idea that each person must say:
  • “The entire world was created only for my sake.” (Sanhedrin, 37a) “Consequently, because the world was created for my sake, I must constantly look into and consider ways of making the world better; to provide what is missing in the world and pray on its behalf.” (Likutey Moharan 5:1) {Autumn Musings – Kayaks, Sukkahs, and Chuppahs}
  • We are instructed to immediately start building our sukkah as soon as the Yom Kippur fast ends. It seems that all the self-examination and repenting and striving needs to be for something. We may know ourselves better, but now we need to build – and quickly, so we don’t lose momentum. {Autumn Musings – Kayaks, Sukkahs, and Chuppahs}
  • Haggadah should be heard more than read = we should seek to hear something below the surface.
  • seven-day festival of Matzot becomes a festival of Pesach = “‘Bread of affliction’” (Devarim 15:3) (Pesachim 115b).
  • Pesach = moment when the finite world of the Israelites changed dramatically, opening up limitless possibility to them
  • liberation of Israel = act of love

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Preceding articles:

The Last Supper was a Passover meal

Thought for the third day of the Omer

Counting each day and making them count

Machine matzo produced from shmura wheat in Israel

Machine matzo produced from shmura wheat in Israel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Additional reading for this most important weekend of the year:

  1. Most important weekend of the year 2016
  2. 1 -15 Nisan
  3. Yom Hey, Eve of Passover and liberation of many people
  4. This day shall be unto you for a memorial and you shall keep it a feast to the Most High God
  5. 14-15 Nisan and Easter
  6. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  7. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  8. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  9. Around the feast of Unleavened Bread
  10. The son of David and the first day of the feast of unleavened bread
  11. Day of remembrance coming near
  12. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  13. Observance of a day to Remember
  14. Jesus memorial
  15. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  16. Seven Bible Feasts of JHWH
  17. High Holidays not only for Israel
  18. White Privilege Conference (WPC) wanting to keep the press out for obvious reasons
  19. First month of the year and predictions
  20. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  21. Death of Christ on the day of preparation
  22. A Great Gift commemorated
  23. Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2
  24. Passover and Liberation Theology
  25. Seven days of Passover
  26. Kingdom Visions of Rainbowed angel, Lamb in Mount Zion
  27. Kingdom Visions of God’s judgements and Marriage of the Lamb
  28. The Song of The Lamb #2 Sevens
  29. The Song of The Lamb #7 Revelation 15
  30. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #3 Days to be kept holy or set apart
  31. Easter holiday, fun and rejoicing
  32. Like grasshoppers
  33. Peter Cottontail and a Bunny laying Eastereggs
  34. Who Would You Rather Listen To?
  35. Focus on outward appearances
  36. After darkness a moment of life renewal
  37. Deliverance and establishment of a theocracy

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Stumbling Toward Torah

Matzah breaking

By Rick Gwynallen

This year we tried some new approaches to making our seder more spiritually meaningful, and this essay is a reflection upon that process.  Most of these thoughts grew from a desire to better “hear” and “experience” the story unfolding at the seder table.  I feel like we have as a people lost so much storytelling tradition, at least in the sense of the listener hearing deeply and allowing the story to draw them into altered states of consciousness or deeper awareness of their reality.  Yet, this is the greatest night of Jewish storytelling and could also produce a deep experience of the story.

Usually ideas do not come out of nowhere.  They arise from experiences and and the sharing of thoughts.  There were a set of interactions and readings this year that fed into these reflections, and I should credit them right away.

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Christianity like Judaism God’s call to human responsibility

The season of Pesach (Passover) is a time for reflection for many people.

Shimon Zachary Klein finds that the relevance of Pesach as a festival of freedom is lost for many reasons. He writes
It is a festival that conjures up obsessions for the “Kosher for Pesach” foods that result in the annual hair-splitting arguments between the secular and religious. The losers are inevitably the secular who have to kowtow to the whims of the religious who have the law on their side. What is free about that? Religious coercion reaches a climax during the Pesach week.Another aspect and one that very few people give a thought is the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. Their limited freedom is even further curtailed. Road-blocks, closures and checkpoints are stricter. The reason is always security. However, the difficulties that innocent Palestinians have to endure are further increased by this “Festival of Freedom”. The Israeli soldiers who are on duty in the occupied territories are even more abusive and insensitive to Palestinians to ensure that the “Festival of Freedom” is not “interrupted” by Palestinians.

It is difficult and even hypocritical to celebrate a festival of freedom while denying another people basic human rights. The settlers in the occupied territories show their presence during this “Festival of Freedom” when they trespass on Palestinian lands. At the same time the Israeli government is still expanding settlements on Palestinian land. Racist rabbis continue their anti-Arab diatribes and this does have much influence for the celebration of Pesach. {Pesach (Passover) – the Festival of “Freedom”}

Today, having a holy week and having listened to the stories how God liberated His people, we in these days of particular times, showing that we are coming closer to the end times, it should be a challenge to all of us as lovers of God to seek new meanings and learning new lessons as to how relevant Pesach remains today.

From the previous writings you could find that it is not enough to celebrate the liberation of the Israelites, who to all intents and purposes, are our ancestors. It is also not enough just to think about the Jewish rabbi who called his disciples together to speak about a new covenant.

English: Omer ceremony - Pesach 2007 , Jewish ...

English: Omer ceremony – Pesach 2007 , Jewish holidays עברית: חגיגת אנשי אילות לקראת סדר פסח בדשא חדר האכילה.ריקוד אמהות וילדים:שיבולת בשדה., Original Image Name:טקס העומר-פסח 2007, Location:אילות (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many Jews still come together in a very traditional way and even may perform what others consider out dated rituals as to what is Kosher for Pesach and what is not. The religious hair-splitting explanation over what is “kitniot” –“legumes” that are forbidden to be eaten by religious Ashkenazim.

Rabbi John Rosove, J Street Rabbinic Cabinet, Co-Chair brought following message

“As the festival of Passover approaches, we are all challenged, this year even more than most years, to reflect and act on the universal message it conveys — especially in the light of very disturbing trends both in the United States and Israel.

A page from the Haggadah of Pesach printed in ...

A page from the Haggadah of Pesach printed in Prague, 1527 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The overriding message conveyed through the Haggadah is that it is our duty to experience the story of our liberation from Egypt as if it happened to us personally — and not just a story that happened to our ancestors countless generations ago. As former slaves, our tradition teaches us to be sensitive to the plight of the oppressed throughout history and in our own time. Accepting our role as active participants in that drama, we realize that we have a hand in forging our own destiny and cannot allow ourselves to become mere bystanders.

“We’re taught as Jews despite cruelty leveled against us not to become cruel and hard-hearted ourselves. That is the key lesson of Pesach, and we ignore it at our moral and spiritual peril.”

We are sensitive even to the pain of our enemies, taking a drop of wine out of our glasses for each of the ten plagues visited on the Egyptians, lessening our joy as we recall their suffering.

As our sages have noted, the one commandment in the Torah reiterated more than any other is to care for and love the stranger — for we ourselves were strangers in Egypt. It is repeated no fewer than 36 times.

Perhaps the repetition is necessary because this commandment tells us to do something that is both counterintuitive and very hard to do. It goes against something that is very deep and fundamental within us. We’re hardwired to be loyal to our own tribe and to be suspicious of and hostile to “the other.” When we’re hurting or in distress, some of us blame strangers and pour out our rage on them. It’s happening again, right now, in Syria, Iraq and in sectors of America.

He is not the only one who looks at what is going on at the 2016 presidential campaign in the United states of America where some of the leading candidates have built their campaigns by exploiting the fears and anxieties of fellow Americans. Also on several religious websites, mainly fundamentalist Christian or American right wing Evangelist sites everything is done to bring people against each other and to downgrade one or an other faith-group.

The rabbi rigthly remarks:

They have cynically fomented an anti-immigrant, xenophobic, nativist feeling against Muslims, Hispanics and others.

and sees the same problematic matter in Israel

we see the same phenomenon in the very disturbing recent polls showing that a sizeable proportion of the Jewish population would favor depriving Arab Israelis of their democratic rights or even expelling them from the country. And tragically, Israelis and Palestinians have become strangers to each other, meeting in fewer and fewer places and not currently engaged around the negotiating table.

Yes, Israelis have been subjected to heinous terrorist attacks, rockets, missiles and constant psychological pressure — and we must stand with them in upholding their right to defend themselves and our Jewish homeland — but returning hatred with hatred is not the response our tradition teaches. We’re taught as Jews despite cruelty leveled against us not to become cruel and hard-hearted ourselves. That is the key lesson of Pesach, and we ignore it at our moral and spiritual peril.

This is not who we are as Jews — nor who we can be and should be.

As individuals and collectively, working through organizations like J Street and its many American-Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian allies, we need to change this. We are called upon by tradition to pursue peace and justice and to love compassion. We must see that our neighbors are fellow humans with the same desires and aspirations as us — and we must never abandon our goal of reaching a two-state solution to end the conflict.

That is the great challenge of our time and it is deserving of particular reflection this festival season.

English: Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of th...

Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the UK, at National Poverty Hearing 2006 at Westminster, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the former Chief Rabbi of Britain, Jonathan Sacks, has noted,

“Judaism is God’s call to human responsibility. From this call you can’t hide, as Adam and Eve discovered when they tried, and you can’t escape, as Jonah learnt in the belly of a fish. The first humans lost paradise when they sought to hide from responsibility. We will only ever regain it if we accept responsibility and become a nation of leaders, each respecting and making space for those not like us.”

Also for those who want to call themselves Christian should ring the same bell. Jeshua asked his followers to be messengers of peace. We can not permit it that we again would loose the paradise. It is promised to us, but we can go along the wrong paths and miss that important entrance or small gate to the Kingdom of God.

Christians should take up their responsibility to preach the Good News and to show the right attitude of a lover of God, keeping to the golden Rule of the Agape love.

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Please do read also: Relevance of Observing Pesach Today

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