Wesleyan University Passover Seder April 08, 2009

Seder Haggadah Supplement
Compiled by Rebecca Bak, 2005 Edited for 2009 by David Baranger

This year, our Seder plate has a new symbol – an olive. Why an olive? Because, for slavery to be truly over, for a people to be truly free, we must know that we can feed ourselves and our children, today, tomorrow, and into the following generations. In the lands of Israel and Palestine, olive groves provide this security. When olive groves are destroyed, the past and future is destroyed. Without economic security, a people can much more easily be conquered or enslaved. And so this year, we eat an olive, to make real our understanding of what it means each time a bulldozer plows up a grove. Without the taste of olives, there will be no taste of freedom.

Elijah’s Cup In the ninth century B.C.E., a farmer arose to challenge the domination of the ruling elite. In his tireless and passionate advocacy on behalf of the common people, and his ceaseless exposure of the corruption and waste of the court, Elijah sparked a movement and created a legend which would inspire people for generations to come. Before he died, Elijah declared that he would return once each generation in the guise of any poor or oppressed person, coming to people’s doors to see how he would be treated. By the treatment offered this poor person, who would be Elijah himself, he would know whether the population had reached a level of humanity making them capable of participating in the darn of the Messianic age. --Love and Justice Haggadah

Miriam’s Well
"You abound in blessings, God, creator of the universe, Who sustains us with living water. 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." --Susan Schnur


Exodus and After 1 leaving is the easy part not where to run, how to get there children pulling at your hems so many bags to carry which way in the dark will you wander what star use as your guide stepping out into the uncertain sands what then it is more than the worry of food, shelter, water, food what will become of us this is what holds you back 2 leaving is the simplest part to turn, in panic, anger, disdain, passion rent of all its trappings, belongings, owing-ness to flee us running, leaping, all gaity at bonds released the haze, intoxication, din will we recognize suffering notice disequilibrium bedding down among us as we beat freedom drums will we turn to the sounds of still-lacking 3 leaving is the lonliest part determinedly setting out through unmapped waters grasping ourselves, the air, what comes next full in our hands we are wild joyfully moving as the dream our mothers, fathers, cousins dreamed for us even in our haste history whispers: bring all you have borne with you leaving it, you will find no peace what you make of liberation that is the trick can you, unshackled, set someone else free? -Cynthia Greenberg, The Love and Justice Haggadah

Prayer for Overcoming Indifference I watch the news, God. I observe it all from a comfortable distance. I see people suffering, and I don’t lift a finger to help them. I condemn injustice but I do nothing to fight against it. I am pained by the faces of starving children, but I am not moved enough to try to save them. I step over homeless people in the street, I walk past outstretched hands, I avert my eyes, I close my heart. Forgive me, God, for remaining aloof while others are in need of my assistance. Wake me up, God; ignite my passion, fill me with outrage. Remind me that I am responsible for Your world. Don’t allow me to stand idly by. Inspire me to act. Teach me to believe that I can repair some corner of this world. When I despair, fill me with hope. When I doubt my strength, fill me with faith. When I am weary, renew my spirit. When I lose direction, show me the way back to meaning, back to compassion, back to You. Amen. —Rabbi Naomi Levy, from www.savedarfur.org



Meditation on Tears As we dip the karpas in salt water, let us meditate on the meanings of tears. What are tears? They contain the memory of all that we are: Bitterness of slavery, Water of dissolution, Salt of hospitality, Water of life. Lot’s wife turned to salt when, out of compassion, she turned to look once more on the home of her childhood. Sarah offered hospitality to all, with bread and salt. Yocheved placed Moses in the waters of the Nile, that he might be reborn to lead the Jews to freedom. Just as the dry land emerged from the salt sea, So our people emerged in freedom from the salt Sea of Reeds. To shed tears is to release all that we are, have been, and can become. Tears are a sign that we are able to fully live, and to experience and feel all that life has to offer. Thank you, Divine Closeness, for the ability to feel, to weep, and to remember. --The Dancing with Miriam Haggadah

The wicked child might not be wicked at all; perhaps she is just expressing our doubts— what is the purpose of all of this trouble you put yourself through at Pesah? Are you really working for freedom? Annoyed at someone who gives voice to our own fears, we react harshly to hide our feelings. The wicked child becomes our scapegoat. --Michael Strassfeld The tradition blames the wicked child because that child stands outside of the community. Do you agree? Why is it so bad to choose to stand apart? How should we respond to the “wicked” child among us? Should we give them space or shut them out? --Joy Levitt When are you the silent child? When do you find that you can’t speak, that words fail you, that you have nothing to say? --Joy Levitt

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev at the Matzah Bakery
It was practice of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak each Passover to supervise the bakeries of Berditchev. In addition to the kashrut (dietary laws) of the matzot, he was concerned with the working conditions of the women and children employees. One year, observing that they were being exploited, being forced to work from early morning until late at night, he approached the bakery owner. “Our enemies used to cause great consternation among our people,” he said, “charging that we use non-Jewish blood to bake our matzah. Today, however, God knows and you know as well that this is a foolish lie. But among our many sins, I see that there are Jewish bakers who prepare their matzah with Jewish blood, with the blood of the poor Jewish women and children from whom, unfortunately, they squeeze out the last bit of strength.” As we eat matzah, this bread of affliction, tonight, we remember the conditions of the unseen workers who helped to bring us food. We follow in the example of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev and acknowledge that the kashrut of our food also depends on the conditions of the workers who make it for us. --In Every Generation Haggadah (Rabbis for Human Rights)


40th Anniversary of the Freedom Seder
All living are one and holy, let us remember as we eat, as we work, as we walk and drive. All living are one and holy, we must make ourselves worthy We must act out justice and mercy and healing as the sun rises and as the sun sets, as the moon rises and the stars wheel above us: we must repair goodness. We must praise the power of the one that joins us. Whether situation here upon ourselves far out “Strange is ourwe plunge in or thrust earth. Each of us comes for finally not knowing why, glory too bright a short visit, we reach the face of yet sometimes seeming to a divine for our eyes and yet we burn and of dailylight. however, there purpose. From the standpoint we give life, We will try toknow: That we are here for the sake of is one thing we do be holy, we will try to repair the world given to us to hand on. others...for the is this treasure of words and knowledge and deeds countless unknown souls with whose fate we are Precious connected moves inside us. Holy is the hand that works forrealize and for that by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I peace how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of justice, people, both the mouth that speaks how earnestly I must exert holy is living and dead, and for goodness myselfholy is theto give inwalks toward mercy. I have received.” in order foot that return as much as -albert Let us lift each other on our shoulders and carry each other along. einstein Let holiness move in us. Let us pay attention to its small voice. Let us see the light in others and honor that light. Remember the dead who paid our way here dearly, dearly and remember the unborn for whom we build our houses. Praise the light that shines before us, through us, after us. Amein. — Marge Piercy, from Amidah


“When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid” audre lorde

"I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
The Hebrew prophets belong to all people because their concepts of justice and equality have become ideals for all races and civilizations. Today we particularly need the Hebrew prophets because they taught that to love God was to love justice: that each human being has an inescapable obligation to denounce evil where he sees it and to defy a ruler who commands him to break the covenant.

tortured world that their promise of the kingdom of God has May we find in time the grace to turn to one another, & maynot been lost to mankind. this turning also become our salvation. -mlk 4/3/68 to benefit the life of Earth with peace, humble in our needs, & generous in our giving. May we learn May we learn to celebrate the abundance of life with gratitude, & to embraceto theEarth with our bodies -MLK from a speech the Synagogue Council of America in return. —Joanne Sunshower, The Haggadah for Earth

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it The Hebrew prophets are needed today because decent doesn't matter with me now. people must be imbued with the courage to speak the truth, Because I've been to the to realize that silence may temporarily preserve status or security but to live with a lie is a gross affront to God. It is mountaintop. And I don't mind. Prayer For The Great Turning scarcely a secret that many congressmen, educators, Like anybody, I would like to May the turning of the Earth save us. clergymen, and leaders of national affairs are gravely live a the turning of the seasons & the turning of the leaves save us. by our foreign policy. A war in which children are May long life. Longevity has disturbed its place. be saved by the worms, the beetles & the microbes incinerated bysoil. May we But I'm not concerned turning the napalm, in which American soldiers die in May that now. I just the to do about we be saved bywant turning of vegetation into compost & the turning of compost into rich soil. mounting numbers while other American soldiers,... in May will. And He's allowed into fruits hatred shoot the wounded enemy as they lie God'sthe turning of seeds into plants & the turning of flowersunrestrainedsave us. on the us. May the up to the & weeds, the vines & mosses all conspire to save ground is a war that mutilates the conscience. Yet grasses mountain. me to go important leaders keep the trees into forests. May we be saved by the turning of sprouts into saplings, of saplings into trees, &their silence. I know this to be true And I've looked over. And I've pouncing & lumbering of the animals savemany have confided in me that they shared my because so us. May the scurrying, foraging, seen the promised land. I may opinions but May the breath of heaven in the breezes & the stormy winds save us. not my willingness to publicly state them. not get there with you. But I May the dance of the butterflies, & the musical flight & return of the birds save us. The of the prophets are needed today because want you be know tonight, thatturning into clouds & by the turningHebrew ever-changing clouds into rain. we need May we to saved by vapors we, as a people, will get to the springs into the lakes save us. their flaming courage; we need them because the thunder May the waters flowing from of their fearless voices is the only sound stronger than the May the land. And I'm happy, heaving of the oceans save us. promised streams flowing into rivers, the rivers into seas, & the greatbombs and the clamor of war hysteria... In the blasts of May weI'm not worried about be saved by the patient turning of the rocks, the hills, the mountains, & the volcanoes. tonight. days to come as the voices of sanity multiply we will know May the of the anything. metabolismall Beings great & small move us to find that across thousands turnings. time the prophet's I'm not fearing any climates of the Earth save us. wisdom in our own of years of May the turnings of message of truth and decency, brotherhood and peace man. Mine eyes have seen the May we be saved by our waking & sleeping, by the rhythmssurvives blood they are living in our time tocycles of our -- that & our appetites, by the give hope to a glory of the coming of the injury & healing, mating & nesting, loss & discovery, joy & mourning. Lord. of birthing & nurturing,

"Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism, falsehoods. The liturgical movement must become a revolutionary movement, seeking to overthrow the forces that continue to destroy the promise, the hope, the vision." -rabbi abraham joshua heschel

-mlk from "letter from a birmingham jail"


Reflection on Bitterness

This is the way to OSEH SHALOMexperience bitterness: take a big chunk of raw horseradish, let the burning turn your face all red. This is the way to experience bitterness: dig back to a time of raw wounds, remember how it felt before the healing began, years or months or days ago. Oseh shalom bimromav This is the shalom aleinu hu ya’asehway to experience bitterness: hold the hand of a friend in pain, listen to her story, remember Naomi who renamed herself Yisrael, v’al kol Mara, bitterness, because she “went away full but God brought [her] back empty” (Ruth 1:21). This is v’imru, Amein. v’imru, the way to experience bitterness: recall the pain of exclusion that is part of the legacy of Jewish women. Listen to the words of Bertha Pappenheim, founder of the German Jewish feminist movement, who said, “No continuing education can repair ya’aseh shalom how the souls of Jewish women–and thus Judaism in its entirety—have been sinned against…” ya’aseh shalom Or the words of Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah, who wrote, “But do not speak to me of the progressiveness of Judasim! shalom aleinu v’al kol Yisrael (2x) Why isn’t there one prayer in all the books to fit my modern case—not one to raise up the spirit of the so-called emancipated woman?” May the One who makes peace in the How big a piece of maror must we eat to re-experience this bitterness? supernal, And what if I’ve known enough pain this year already? And what if exclusion is not just a memory for me? grant peace to us, and to all the world. And what if I eat the whole root and my tongue catches on fire and my ears burn? Then will I know slavery? Amen Us Out of Mitzrayim Take --The Ma’ayan Passover Haggadah
(Sung to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game")
Take us out of Mitzrayim, Free us from slavery Bake us some matzah in a haste Don't worry 'bout flavor, Give no thought to taste. Oh it's rush, rush, rush, to the Red Sea If we don't cross it's a shame, For it's ten plagues, Down and you're out


Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore.

Passover Things

(To the tune of "My Favorite Things") Cleaning and cooking and so many dishes Out with the Hametz, no pasta, no Knishes Fish that's gefilted, horseradish that stings These are a few of our Passover things. Matzah and Karpas and chopped up Charoset Shankbones and Kiddish and Yiddish neuroses Mi Sheberakh avotenu Tante who Kvetches and uncle who sings Mekor These are a few of our Passover things.Habrakha l’imoteynu Motzi and Maror and trouble with May the Source of Strength Who Blessed the ones before us Pharaohs Help us find the courage Famines and locusts and slaves withmake our lives a blessing To wheelbarrows And let us say: Amen Matzah balls floating and eggshells that cling Mi Sheberakh imoteynu
Mekor Habrakha l’avoteynu Bless those in need of healing With refuah shlema: The renewal of body The renewal of spirit And let us say: Amen



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