Passover Seder Plate
Happy Passover and thank you to all for your commitment to our Passover Appeal! If you haven’t yet had a chance to pledge, please consider contacting Shais at the BE office.
Every matzah crumb helps, really!
Wherever you gathered, I hope that you and your family enjoyed this year’s Passover seders. Now what? With a full week of Passover to go, here’s another Jewish teaching “side dish” to accompany your matzah, as we continue munching during this holiday week.
Memory and action, where would we be without either? We remember things by telling stories, to our kids, friends, co-workers, family members, and even to ourselves. It’s by telling stories that we express life’s greatest gift to each of us, time. Consider this story excerpt by I.B. Singer in Zlateh the Goat.
“When a day passes, it is no longer there. What remains of it? Nothing more than a story. If stories weren’t told or books weren’t written, humans would live like the beasts, only for the day.” Reb Zebulun said, “Today we live, but by tomorrow today will be a story. The whole world, all human life, is one long story.” Children are as puzzled by passing time as adults. What happens to a day once it is gone? Where are all our yesterdays with their joys and sorrows? Literature helps us remember the past with its many moods. To the storyteller yesterday is still here as are the years and the decades gone by. In stories time does not vanish. Neither do people and animals. For the writer and readers, all creatures go on living forever. What happened long ago is still present.”
Of course, we are much more than just memories and stories. We are also all actors in this great play called, “Life.” But, what can Passover teach us about our lines and our roles? It’s in the experience of the Exodus, in that of being strangers ourselves, that we are taught, “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know how it feels, having yourself once been strangers in Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9) We learn, “When a stranger resides with you, you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you too were strangers in Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)
Passover is about memory and storytelling, and much more. What are we to do now with our seders complete and us already counting down the days til pizza? We are to carve out some of that precious gift of time in order to review, relearn and renew ourselves in order to better empathize with and improve our treatment of others, especially the stranger, the marginalized and those who may be estranged or excluded.
This holiday week may we all continue to tell our important stories and to speak and act in a loving way that positively shapes our common and future story.
Rabbi Mark Melamut