Additional Readings for the Passover Seder

Before Kiddush

Why especially on this night are we hopeful that the goal of tikkun olam “making the world reflective of God’s kingdom” is achievable?

During the last year we have witnessed acts of terrorism and acts of heroism. We have seen terror elicit not fear, but unusual acts of courage and persistent resistance; undaunted determination not to cower nor to flee, but to save and to resist, whether it was in Jerusalem, Natanya, lower Manhattan, Washington, DC or in the air over Pennsylvania.

As we begin our seder, let us affirm that the spirit of Moshe in confronting Pharaoh and resisting tyranny is still alive.

At Yachatz when breaking the middle matzah

"The Matzah of Unity" (from The Orchard, prepared by the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet for Pesach 5762)

Pesach is a wonderful time to be together as one Jewish family, our symbols with our actions, our ritual with our ethics. We recall springtime as we eat the green vegetable Karpas. May we remember that it symbolizes a renewal of nature and the human spirit.

We recall our people’s tears and suffering as we dip into the saltwater. May we remember our people’s past oppressions and care for those in Israel, Argentina and other lands, who still have tears and pain.

We recall the bitterness of slavery as we eat the Maror. May we remember the plight of the poor and the downtrodden and alleviate their distress.

We recall our servitude to Pharaoh as we eat the Matzah, the bread of affliction. May we remember God’s redemption of our people and how Matzah became the first food eaten in freedom.

Pesach is a beloved holiday, not only because we recall our freedom, but also because we share our concerns for all in need. We cannot only taste the foods. We have to remember our responsibilities as Jews to reach out and assist others with our tzedakah, our charitable obligations, and through our gemilut hasadim, our acts.

Let us now take the middle Matzah and divide it in half. As we break this Matzah and set it aside, we link ourselves symbolically with all Jews throughout the world, especially those in troubled lands and those who were broken from the community of Israel for so long and have only recently rejoined Klal Yisrael, in Israel.

Our Seder meal will not conclude until the missing piece of Matzah is found and returned to the table. The Matzah, when restored, shows the desire of our people to be together as one, at peace. As Jews, we are a people of sacred fragments; we need help from God to bond together in everlastin unity.

These symbols and rituals at the Seder reconnect us to our sacred past, remind us of our Divine mission, and challenge us to create a future of wholeness for Jews the world over.

Before we open the door for Eliyahu

As we are about to open the door with the hope that Eliyahu will indeed come and bring with him a happy, more secure time where all people will live in peace, security and contentment, we cannot but think of our brethren in Argentina. They live with economic insecurity, hunger, unemployment and victimization by hate mongers in a politically unstable society. In order to help bring Eliyahu, we resolve to do our share to ensure that next year they can, as we do, enjoy Passover having been liberated from the oppression under which they live.

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