Haggadah Beit Ormsbee Pesach 5773

Readying for the Rite of Freedom & Springtime
A. On Judaism, God-Language, & the Passover Seder We come together tonight from many different traditions & with many different views of G-d and the sacred. Here at the table are the newly Jewish, the atheist, the recovering catholic, the pagan, the secularist, the Christians. The Jewish tradition is market by the name Yisrael, the new name given to Judah after he wrestled with the Lord in the desert. Wrestling with god, the sacred, meaning, and each other is the hallmark of Judaism and at the heart of tonight’s seder; as questions, problems, disagreements arise, take note of them and, if you’re comfortable, share them with the table. The traditional seder uses theistic language to tell its story of bondage & redemption, and the hope and awe that we feel in our own freedom. Rabbi Arthur Green asks, “What does it mean to be religious in a Jewish context ... if one does not ‘believe in God’...? The sacred refers to an inward, mysterious sense of awesome presence, a reality deeper than the kind we ordinarily experience. ... When the mask of ordinariness falls away, our consciousness is left with a moment of nakedness, a confrontation with a reality that we do not know how to put into language. The astonishment of such moments ... my most revered teacher termed radical amazement. ... For me, God is not an intellectual proposition, but rather the ground of life itself. It is the name I give to the reality I encounter in the kind of moment I have been describing....”
— from Radical Judaism: Rethinking God and Tradition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), pp. 3-4.

Freedom to Love! Freedom to Hope! Soon and in our days. !

! ! !

! ! !

and freedom to Share and freedom to Rejoice Amen.

2. And we think of the bondage of others, our neighbors, our city and nation, in the whole world, those enslaved by poverty, sweatshops, the global sex trade, and war. From the Religious Action Center’s Social Justice Haggadah (2013), we read: Standing on the parted shores of history We still believe what we were taught Before wever 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 and marching together. Tonight we are all of us, from the youngest to the oldest, brothers and sisters in the celebration of Freedom, and our redemption is bound up with the deliverance from bondage of people everywhere. It is aid in the Talmud that in the days when the world is more perfect, we will remember not just the liberation from Egypt, but the liberation of all people from oppression. Truly, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Injustice to any people is a threat to justice to all people’ (Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail). C. A Brief History Lesson From The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah: “Once we had two spring festivals: Pesach, a lambing holiday, and Chag ha-Matzah, a holiday celebrating the year’s first grain. In the second half of the thirteenth century BCE, when some traditions tell us our people left Egypt, the two celebrations become one. The name Pesach comes from pasach, “to pass over” (as ha-Shem passed over the houses of the Hebrews in Egypt), and matzah came to mean the unleavened bread, which represents the haste of our departure from Egypt. Passover has four aspects. It is seasonal, rejoicing in Spring. It is historical, marking the ‘birthday’ of the Jewish people. It is a festival of freedom, a time of rejoicing and gratitude. And it is a ritual of preparation for an ultimate redemption, of which our first redemption was a hint and a promise.” D. Shel Yom Tov (Holy Day Light) From The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah: “May the light of the candles we kindle together tonight bring radiance to all who still live in darkness. May this season, marking the deliberance of our people from Pharaoh, rouse us against anyone who keeps others in servitude. In gratitude for the freedom we enjoy, may we strive to bring about our own liberation and the liberation of all people everywhere.” Read from the New American Haggadah, pp. 5 Light the Festival Candles

As we read the Haggadah together and contemplate Spring time, rebirth, slavery and redemption, feel free to think about whatever the sacred or holiness or awe or God means to you as we read of the Jewish story of ‫ יהוה‬and the people of Israel. As we read from the New American Haggadah, feel free to browse around, read the timeline at the top of the pages, ponder different meditations, read the skipped parts, contemplate the art. The Seder should be fun, social, stimulating, perplexing, infuriating, inspiring, renewing, meditative, prayerful, and irreverent. All at once. B. Kavanot (Intentions) 1. We think of our own bondage, the things that hold us back, that keep us captive, that enslave us, and we hope for freedom and new beginnings. We read responsively from Rabbi Rachel Barenblat’s The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah for Pesach, Version 7.1 Leader: Long ago at this season, our people set out on a journey Guests: On such a night as this, Israel went from degradation to joy. We give thanks for the liberation of days gone by. And we pray for all who are still bound. Eternal God, may all who hunger come to rejoice in a new Passover. Let all the human family sit at Your table, drink the wine of deliverance, eat the bread of Freedom. Freedom from Bondage! Freedom from Hunger ! Freedom from Hatred! Freedom to Think! Freedom to Teach! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! and freedom from Oppression and freedom from Want and freedom from Fear and freedom to Speak and freedom to Learn

ha-Seder (The Order)
NAH, pp. 6 [read together] I. Kadesh ‫( קדש‬Hallowing [the Evening])

The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah: “This first cup of wine reminds us of God’s first declaration, V’hotzaiti—I will bring you out from oppression.” The First Cup — NAH, pp. 9 The Shehechyanu—bottom of NAH, pp. 11 Meditation on the Kiddush: The Library, NAH, pp. 13 II. Urchatz ‫( ורחץ‬Washing [the Hands]) from The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah: “This symbolic washing of the hands recalls the story of Miriam's Well. Legend tells us that this well followed Miriam, sister of Moses, through the desert, sustaining the Jews in their wanderings. Filled with mayimei chayyim, waters of life, the well was a source of strength and renewal to all who drew from it. One drink from its waters was said to alert the heart, mind and soul, and make the meaning of Torah become more clear.6 In Hebrew, urchatz means “washing” or “cleansing.” In Aramaic, sister language to Hebrew, urchatz means “trusting.” As we wash each others’ hands, let us rejoice in this act of trust. Hand Washing: Silently pour water over the hands of the person to your left, until everyone has ritually cleansed themselves (NAH, pp. 14) III. Karpas ‫( כרפס‬Dipping [the Green: Greeting the Spring]) For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.... Shir ha-Shirim (Song of Songs) 2:12-13 from Elwell & Weisberg, The Open Door Haggadah: “This is the season when life begins. In the month of Nisan the earth softens. Seeds of hope push toward the light. Our telling begins with remembering that tears often clear the path to growth.” pp. 24 Blessing the Karpas, NAH, pp. 14 Spring Vegetable Dipped in Tears of Affliction: Dip a piece of parsley into the salt water and eat. IV. Yachatz ‫( יחץ‬Splitting [the Matzot]) Breaking the Middle Matzah (NAH, pp. 15) Read NAH, pp. 17 Meditation on the Poor Man’s Bread: Nation, NAH, pp. 19 V. Maggid ‫( מגיד‬Telling [the Tale]) The Four Questions, NAH, pp. 21 from The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah: “In addition to the Four Questions, tonight we ask ourselves a fifth: We are commanded to celebrate as if each one of us were personally liberated from Egypt. In the last year, how have you been liberated from bondage—and in the next year, how do you hope to bring yourself closer to your place of freedom? Avadim Hayinu, Once We Were Slaves: read NAH, pp. 22 Blessing, NAH, pp. 26

The Four Children, NAH, pp. 29 Meditation on the Four Children: Library, NAH, pp. 30 “And we are saved,” NAH, pp. 35 The Aramean, NAH, pp. 36 The Egyptians, NAH, pp. 45 Cry Out for Freedom, NAH, pp. 47 & 49 Meditation on “The Lord Heard Our Voices”: Library, NAH, pp. 53 With Signs and Wonders, NAH, pp. 54 The Plagues Three Drops of Wine, NAH, pp. 61 Naming the Plagues & Ten Drops of Wine, NAH, pp. 63 Three More Drops of Wine, NAH, pp. 63 from The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah: These plagues are in the past, but today’s world holds plagues as well. Let us spill drops of wine as we recite: these ten new plagues. Apathy in the face of evil Brutality & torture of the helpless Cruelty & mockery of the old and the weak Despair and hopelessness Envy of the joy of others Falsehood, lies, & deception corroding our faith Greed & theft of earth’s resources Hatred of learning, culture, and intellect Instigation of war, aggression, and violence Justice delayed, justice denied, justice mocked... Shekhinah, soften our hearts and the hearts of our enemies. Help us to dream new paths to freedom, so that the next sea-opening is not also a drowning; so that our singing is never again their wailing. So that our freedom leaves no one orphaned, childless, gasping for air. Meditation on the Ten Plagues: House of Study, NAH, pp. 66 Read NAH, pp. 69 Dayenu, NAH, pp. 70 Traditional Signs and Symbols of the Seder Plate Read NAH, pp. 73 from The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah: Jewish tradition grows by accretion. Rabban Gamaliel cherished three symbols; tonight we will explain seven! One for each day of the week; one for each of the seven lower sefirot / aspects of divinity. And they are: The Maror, bitter herb or horseradish, which represents the bitterness of slavery.

The Charoset, a mixture of apples and nuts and wine, which represents the bricks and mortar we made in ancient times, and the new structures we are beginning to build in our lives today. The Lamb Shank bone (or: beet [or turkey femur!]) which represents the sacrifices we have made to survive.*2 Before the tenth plague, our people slaughtered lambs and marked our doors with blood: because of this marking, the Angel of Death passed over our homes and our first- born were spared. The Egg, which symbolizes creative power, our rebirth. The Parsley, which represents the new growth of spring, for we are earthy, rooted beings, connected to the Earth and nourished by our connection. Salt water of our tears, both then and now. Matzot of our unleavened hearts: may this Seder enable our spirits to rise. Citrus In the early 1980s, Susannah Heschel attended a feminist seder where bread was placed on the seder plate, a reaction to a rebbetzin who had claimed lesbians had no more place in Judaism than bread crusts have at a seder. “Bread on the seder plate...renders everything chametz, and its symbolism suggests that being lesbian is transgressive, violating Judaism,” Heschel writes. “I felt that an orange was suggestive of something else: the fruitfulness for all Jews when lesbians and gay men are contributing and active members of Jewish life.”16 To speak of slavery and long for liberation, she says, “demands that we acknowledge our own complicity in enslaving others.”17 One additional item on our seder plate, therefore, is an orange, representing the radical feminist notion that there is—there must be—a place at the table for all of us, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. May our lives be inclusive, welcoming, and fruitful. “Exotic Fruit” from Siddur Sha’ar Zahav pp. 21 Sometimes we are called ‘fruit’ people, and while it is meant as an insult, we take it as a blessing in disguise. A recognition of the sweet breath of God’s creation. And we take it as an opportunity to open up to the sweet, and the tart, in all of us. May we honor strange fruit that is ripe with the possibility of miracles. May we recognize that there is more than just one way to be fruitful and multiply. Before we taste, we hesitate and remember that fear and hostility many feel when faced with something they think is strange, different — forbidden. May we be open to the miracle, and bring to taste the sweet fruits born from the seeds of liberation planted by our gay and lesbian forbears. [Read together] “Communal Prayer of Remembrance” from Siddur Sha’ar Zahav, pp. 491 O God, remember today those members of our family who were martyred in years past because of their sexual or gender identity: those murdered by fanatics in the Middle Ages, those who perished in the Holocaust, and those struck down in our own cities in our own time. Remember also those who took their own lives, driven to despair by a world that hated them. ANd in mercy remember those who lived lives of loneliness, repressing their true nature, and refraining from sharing their love with one another. O God, watch over the souls of these beloved ones: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and help us bring an end to hate and oppression of all kinds. The Olives from The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah: “The final item on our seder plate is an olive. After the Flood, Noah’s dove brought back an olive branch as a sign that the earth was again habitable. Today ancient olive groves are destroyed by violence, making a powerful symbol of peace into a casualty of war. We keep an olive on our seder plate as an embodied prayer for peace, in the Middle East and every place where war destroys lives, hopes, and the freedoms we celebrate tonight.”

from Rebecca Vilkomerson is the executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace (in Jewish Daily Forward, March 22, 2013): “The olive tree is a universal and ancient symbol of hope and peace. And sadly, the destruction of Palestinian olive trees by Israeli settlers and the Israeli army is just one example of the way that Israeli policies systematically deny Palestinians of even their most basic rights. In February, I spent a day in the Palestinian village of Jayyous. I saw with my own eyes where ancient olive trees had been recently torn from the land. I saw the Caterpillar bulldozer that had ripped them from their roots, with its owner in tears nearby. And I saw pictures of where the stolen olive trees had been prettily replanted in a nearby settlement. An olive on my Seder plate reminds me to ask myself, as Rabbi Brant Rosen, co-chair of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council, writes: “How will we, as Jews, bear witness to the unjust actions committed in our name? Will these olives inspire us to be bearers of peace and hope for Palestinians — and for all who are oppressed?” Dor V’dor, NAH, pp. 77 Meditation on “In Every Generation”: Nation, NAH, pp. 78 Psalms Read NAH, pp. 81 (top paragraph only) Poetic interpretation of Psalm 114 by David Rosenberg (from Open Door Haggadah, pp. 70) When Israel came out of Egypt / like a child suddenly free / from a people of strange speech Judah became a home / for the Children of Israel / as they became a sanctuary for the God of their fathers — / the House of Israel / were brought into the open and as the Sea saw them coming / it ran from teh sight / the Jordan stopped dead in its tracks mountains leaped like frightened rams / hills were a scattering flock / of lambs What was so alarming, Sea? / Jordan, what vision / drained your strength away? Mountains, why did you quake / like fearful rams? / HIlls why did you jump like lambs? All earth, tremble / in the presence / of your maker it was God of Jacob / and he is here / all around you a sudden pool of water / from a desert rock / a fountain from wilderness stone — life from a heart of stone / and from bitter tears / a sweet land. The Second Cup, NAH, pp. 85 (top paragraph) Blessing & Drink the Second Cup, NAH, pp. 85 (bottom paragraph) VI. Rachatzah ‫( רחצה‬Being Washed) Blessing, NAH, pp. 87 Washing the Hands a Second Time, pour water over the hands of the person to your left Wait in silence until everyone’s hands are washed, then... VII. Motzi ‫ּ( מוציא‬Bringing Forth [Blessing the Bread]) Blessing the Meal (Bread), NAH, pp. 87 VIII. Matzah ‫( מצה‬Unleavened Bread [Eating the Poor Man’s Bread])

Blessing the Matzot, NAH, pp. 87 Eat a bite of matzah IX. Maror ‫( מרור‬Bitterness [Eating the Bitter Root]) Blessing the Maror, NAH, pp. 87 Eat a bite of horseradish (you may add some charoset, if you want) X. Korech ‫( כורך‬Bundling [the Bitter with the Sweet]) Make a sandwich of Matzah, Maror, & Charoset Read the Explanation, NAH, pp. 89 Eat the sandwich XI. Shulkhan Orukh ‫( שלחן עורך‬The Set Table [Eating the Festival Meal]) Begin with a boiled egg (or deviled egg) to begin the Feast of Passover XII. Tzafun ‫( צפון‬Hiding It [Eating the Afikomen]) from The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah: When the Temple still stood in Jerusalem, it was customary to make an offering of a paschal lamb at this season. Now we eat the afikoman in memory of the offering. Tzafun means “hidden,” and the afikoman is usually hidden for children to find. Why end the meal thus? Because we want the dinner to end with the taste of slavery/freedom in our mouths—thus the taste of matzah, rather than some unrelated sweet. But this explains eating matzah late, not the charade of hiding it. The hiding works on two levels: it intrigues the kids—and it allows us to affirm our sense of the Hidden and Mysterious. On this theory, we hide the larger half of the broken matzah because we are affirming that there is more that is Hidden and Mysterious in the world than any information we can gather. Meditation on Afikomen: Library, NAH pp. 91 XIII. Barech ‫( ברך‬Blessing [& the Elijah & Miriam Cups]) Read NAH, pp. 89 Emmanuel Levinas (quoted in Open Door Haggadah, pp. 79) Saying grace is an act of the greatest importance. To be able to eat and drink is a possibility as extraordinary as miraculous, as the crossing of the Red Sea. We do not recognize the miracle this represents because we live in a world which, for the moment, has plenty of everything, and because our memory is short. Yet those who live in less fortunate countries understand that to be able to satisfy one’s hunger is the marvel of marvels. ... the route which takes bread from the earth in which it grows to the mouth which eats it is one of the most perilous. It is to cross the Red Sea....” “Prayer after Eating,” Wendall Berry I have taken in the light that quickened eye and leaf. May my brain be bright with praise of what I eat, in the brief blaze of motion and of thought. May I be worthy of my meat.

Drink the Third Cup, read NAH, pp. 100 Fill the Elijah Cup Elijah Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (from The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah) I would like to invite us to do the following in our Seders: Before we open the door for Eliahu Hanavi, sit quietly and ask deep inside, “What questions are so important for our lives going on after Pesach that we would want to invoke the presence of Eliahu Hanavi so that we can pose them to him?” Then, when we sing “Eliahu Hanavi, Eliahu Hatishby“, and we open the door, we should sit quietly and try to address the questions to Eliahu from within our deepest places; and not rush to resume the Seder. Please wait at this time for what you might hear as Eliahu’s response for us. In this way, we can all experience the wonderful grace of giluy eliahu / the revelation that comes to us through Elijah. Open the front door from The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah: ON ANGER: AN ALTERNATIVE [to] "POUR OUT YOUR WRATH" (OPTION ONE) At this moment in the seder, as the door is opened for Elijah, the traditional liturgy reads as follows: Pour out Your wrath upon those who do not know You and upon the governments which do not call upon Your Name. For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his dwelling place (Psalms 79:6-7). Pour out Your fury upon them; let the fierceness of Your anger overtake them (Psalms 69:25). Pursue them in indignation and destroy them from under Your heavens (Lamentations 3:66) This text reminds us that oppression breeds anger to which we must attend. Once, we recited this text out of powerlessness. We asked God to pour forth divine wrath because we were unable to express our own. But in today's world, where we enjoy agency to an unprecedented degree, we must resist the temptations of perennial victimhood and yearning for revenge. The scholar Laura Levitt has written: Revenge is not pretty; it is even embarrassing. And yet, these passages acknowledge that anger and the desire for revenge are a part of our legacy. They seem to suggest that before the Messiah can come, we must be able to express our rage at what has been done to us.31 Rage, unexpressed, will fester. Let us therefore acknowledge our communal pain. Let us recognize the intersecting systems of oppression which ensnare our world, from antisemitism to xenophobia, and feel appropriate anger in response. And let us recommit ourselves to honing that anger so that it might fuel us to create change, so that our wrath may lead us to redemption. In the words of the poet Audre Lorde: Focused with precision, [anger] can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change. And when I speak of change, I do not mean a simple switch of positions or a temporary lessening of tensions, nor the ability to smile or feel good. I am speaking of a basic and radical alteration in those assumptions underlining our lives. And let us say: Amen. Meditation on Elijah the Prophet: House of Study, NAH pp. 103 Miriam from The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah Tonight we welcome two prophets: not only Elijah, but also Miriam, sister of Moses. Elijah is a symbol of messianic redemption at the end of time; Miriam, of redemption in our present lives. Miriam’s cup is filled with water, evoking her Well which followed the Israelites in the wilderness.

After the crossing of the Red Sea, Miriam sang to the Israelites a song. The words in the Torah are only the beginning: Sing to God, for God has triumphed gloriously; Horse and driver, God has hurled into the sea. So the Rabbis asked: Why is the Song of Miriam only partially stated in the Torah? And in midrash is found the answer: the song is incomplete so that future generations will finish it. That is our task. from The Open Door Haggadah, pp. 12 This is the cup of Miriam, the cup of living waters, a reminder of the exodus from Egypt. Throughout their desert wanderings, the Israelites were refreshed by miraculous springs that bubbled out of deep crevices in the rocky landscape. When Miriam died, the waters dried up. The people mourned the slave child who waited by a river, the woman who danced across the sea, the leader who sang a nation to freedom. When the Springs flowed once more, they named them Miriam’s well. When fear blocks our path, when our travels deplete us, we seek sources of healing and wells of hope. May our questions and our stories nourish us as Miriam’s well renewed our people. raise Miriam’s Cup and recite (from The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah): May we, like the children of Israel leaving Egypt, be guarded and nurtured and kept alive in the wilderness, and may You give us wisdom to understand that the journey itself holds the promise of redemption. Amen. XIV. Hallel ‫( הלל‬Praise [Psalms 113-118]) Pour the Fourth Cup Read Psalms 117 & 118, NAH pp. 111 Some Goyishe & Secular Songs of Praise (collected in The Velveteen Rabbi’s Haggadah) 1. Denise Levertov, “Praise wet snow falling early” Praise wet snow ! falling early. Praise the shadow ! my neighbor’s chimney casts on the tile roof even this gray October day that should, they say, have been golden. ! Praise the invisible sun burning beyond ! the white cold sky, giving us light and the chimney’s shadow. Praise god or the gods, the unknown, that which imagined us, which stays our hand, our murderous hand, ! and gives us still, in the shadow of death, ! our daily life, ! and the dream still of goodwill, of peace on earth. Praise flow and change, night and

the pulse of day. 2. e.e. cummings i thank You God for most this amazing day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes (i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay great happening illimitably earth) how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any—lifted from the no of all nothing—human merely being doubt unimaginable You? (now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened) 3. Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Pied Beauty” Glory be to God for dappled things— For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in a stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls, finches’ wings; Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Drink the Fourth Cup, NAH pp. 121 Closing the Hallel, NAH pp. 121 XV. Nirtzah ‫( נרצה‬Be Pleased or Satisfied) Read NAH, pp. 122 Meditation on “Next Year in Jerusalem”: Library, pp. 125 from Siddur Sha’ar Zahav Neither the work nor the remembering will ever be finished in our lifespan; may we remember that liberation is not a destination, but an ongoing labor of love. No one is free until all the bonds are cut. May it be so, speedily and soon, and let us say, next year in — No, not next year. Not anywhere else but right here, right now, everywhere and always. Edward Abbey, “Benedictio:” May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing views. May your mountains rise into and above the

clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottoes of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you—beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. ! So long.

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