One that gave the pilgrims courage to leave the tyranny of King George, to chance the bitter wilderness of the Atlantic Ocean, hoping for the promised land that they would call America.
One that provided a ray of light for the African-American slaves through the horrors of slavery, for, they thought, ‘if God was present for the Israelite slaves in the bible, God is there for us as well.’ It was this sliver of faith that kept hope alive.
One that has been the cornerstone of faith for countless people who have struggled through depression, addiction, and abuse.
It is the story that transcends entertainment into the profound, and into the sublime.
And each year, we Jews begin telling our story with a brisket, some matza, and cheap red wine.
Where else but around our dinner table (extended through the living room, with mismatched place settings) could we possibly extend memory from our parents and grandparents back to our exodus from Egypt, while at the same time creating memories, and transmitting values, to our children and future generations?
The sacred drama that we perform, with all its predictability, and its creativity, we repeat annually because our Judaism is adamant that through The Story, and our telling of it, each generation has things that they need to say, and have things that they need to hear. ‘Need’ because the world is different. ‘Need’ because the world remains the same.
From across the seder plate, timeless truths are once again proclaimed:
About striving for freedom, a battle that needs to be fought year after year.
About human dignity, no matter one’s origin or station.
About journey, and family, and the promised land that is more than just a place, it is a state of mind.
Passover is ripe with values that can not be properly relayed through a will, or in a spreadsheet… but only through story. Amidst the family dynamics, the expected chaos of Pesach preparation, and once again greeting those around the table, the generations speak. “You too were once a slave in Egypt. You too strove for freedom. You too were a stranger in a strange land. You too have taken steps into the water, have danced with timbrels, and linked arms with your people to show the world that there is another possibility, another reality. You too…”
But this serious narrative is told through whimsical song, and skit, and experience. It is told through your smile to young eyes, hide and seek with broken matza, and Elijah’s empty chair. This story, The Story, is told.
P.S. – Our Temple Emanu-El intergenerational family-friendly 2nd night seder still has space available for you. Please register HERE.