Remember, on the Sabbath and Holydays our custom is to sanctify time by reciting Kiddush, washing for the meal, and then remaining silent until we make the Motzi,
the prayer for breaking bread. This night the order is momentarily transformed into chaos to inspire children and the young at heart to ask questions. For younger children it is best to do a Seder before the Seder and discuss Passover on their terms.
The Four Questions and the Fifth
How different this Seder is from all other Seders!
At all other Seders the youngest asks four questions.
At this Seder all are to question:
What do you hunger for?
What is freedom?
What is this dream of redemption?
Who will lead?
When do we eat?
Eat now if the food is ready and you want to continue the narrative of the Haggaddah at the meal.
A Maggid is a storyteller. Tonight we tell our story as we break this bread. Passover in Hebrew is pronounced Pe sach which means “the mouth speaks.” We then pronounce:
This is the bread that tells the story of the poor
Whose bodies were broken as bread by the taskmasters.
All who hunger now enter and eat.
All seeking wisdom, we welcome your questions.
This year we are here.
In the coming year we pray for redemption.
We pray for the end of this final exile.
Let liberty be proclaimed in every land.
For children, Teens, and the Young at Heart:
Our story must begin in the beginning, in Genesis. Adam and Eve, who are make believe, teach us many lessons. After they eat from the Tree of Knowledge their eyes are opened. They are not happy with what they see. God proclaims them to be free. They see into the future all the bad choices all of their children will make. Humans will forget that we all come from one set of parents, as the story is told, which means we are all brothers and sisters. Every beggar you meet on the street is a relative. How can you turn away? Every war is brother against brother. How can you join? The Earth began as a Garden. Good. How do we pass through the flaming sword? Why do we pollute? How do we return to the Garden, our Promised Land?
Our story continues with Joseph, the guy with the amazing techno-color dream coat. Joseph was exiled to Egypt by his own brothers. He was a stranger in a strange land and was exiled again within his exile by being thrown into prison.
All our people were incarcerated by history to be the slaves that built the giant grave markers called the Pyramids. The children of Israel were worked to death by the cruel taskmasters. To save time they were not buried but mortared into the stone bricks of the pyramids. All remember and visit the Pharos who inspired these atrocities. This night we remember our brothers and sisters as the eye in the pyramids.Novas ordo memoriam.
The telling of our story includes a narrative of cruelty and persecution that is difficult to talk about and even more difficult to imagine. This is a night when we grow up, when children grow up, when the children of Israel become the adults of Israel, when meaning is more than food and ritual. This is the night we recite the overwhelming questions.
When will we be one family again?
When will we treat earth as a mother, once again?
When will all exiles end?
Who am I in the context of this story?
How do I save my own life?
Is this story about me?
In the Jewish tradition Elijah the prophet is the answer man. At least one of you must dress up as Elijah and offer some form of an answer to all these questions. In fact, if all agree pass around Elijah’s cup and offer a question or an answer. Play a variation of musical chairs and move around the table giving all a chance to sit in the Chair of Elijah the Prophet.
O Elijah, Elijah:
When will all this suffering end?
When will a leader come?
After the heart of Moses?
To lead us into the Promised Land
Of an earth we till as a garden?
Who will inform our corrupt political leaders?
Who will inform our lost religious leaders?
Who will proclaim in the voice of Elijah
a declaration of independence from the violence that is history and the plagues of the modern world?
If not now, when?
Let the symposium begin.
Watch the evening turn to morning
Elijah is coming for all this and for more!
Before the Meal: An Updated Rachtza; ANew Ritual
Before the hand washing for the meal, stand, in the opening of a door with a Mezzuzzah and recite, in unison:
(In Ancient times, around two thousand years ago Israelite worship focused on the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple, in Hebrew, was called the Bayt Hamigdash. Bayt is a form of Bayit, which means house or home. This is instructive for today when our homes are considered our own holy Temple. In the past the Israelite Priests lead the worship. They were required to wash their hands before approaching the Altar.)
For this reason all of us will wash our hands and/or the hands of all present. We are all leaders and the high-priests of our home.)
This home is our holy Temple
This Table is our Altar
This Seder is our Passover Sacrifice.
As you Passover our home
Marked with this Mezzuzzah
Protecting us from all plagues
And even from the angel of death
We pray this covenant meal protects every home
Marked by your name, O Lord God of Israel and All Nations
May this meal hasten our redemption
We do this in remberance of You our Redeemer
And our exodus from Egypt.
As we proclaim the greatest of the teachings