Mosaic of the 12 Tribes of Israel. From a synagogue wall in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Arik Ascherman thinks that we will be free only when there will be justice and equality for everyone.
Tag archive for "Hallel"
WHO SITS WITH US AT OUR SEDER?
Eloheinu v’Elohei Kadmoneinu (Avoteinu, Avoteinu vEmoteinu), our God and God of our ancestors, we are gathered around this seder table as b’nei khorin, free people commanded to remember our dark nights of oppression. We have vowed never to become oppressors ourselves, for we were strangers in the land of Egypt. Yet, when we are honest with ourselves, we know that we may be Pharaoh to other peoples, and to the disadvantaged among our own people. We sometimes are genuinely threatened, but our belief that “In every generation there are those who arise to destroy us” often causes us to harden our hearts, and perceive hatred where it does not exist. To be truly free we must not let our fears be our taskmasters. We must banish Pharaoh from our hearts and reaffirm our commitment to honor God’s Image in every human being. Recalling the midwives of old, we know that the seeds of redemption are planted when we oppose Pharaoh’s command.
“Even ma’asu habonim The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.” As we joyfully recite these words of Hallel, we pledge to build a homeland with a place for all those who are today rejected, ignored or oppressed. Tonight, they have a place at our table.
As with the plagues of old, our joy is diminished when we hear of those whose lives remain embittered. We know that “Hashata Avdei,” “This year we remain slaves because of their oppression ” We remove additional drops of wine from our cup of celebration and renew our commitment to winning their freedom, thereby completing ours. We particularly remember (choose one or more):
As we sing Adir Hu this Passover night, and dream of the day when God’s house will be built, we know that we must first build homes for all of our fellow citizens.
Our ancestor was a wandering Aramean.” This night we remember that all have the right to a home.
“V’He Sh’Amda” This night, we recall that the One who stood with our ancestors stands with all who are oppressed. We recommit to being God’s partners to protect, replant, and again make the olive tree a symbol of peace.
As we open our doors to invite all who are hungry to come and eat, we remember the many doors closed to us over long years of persecution. This Passover, may we open our hearts and our borders to those fleeing for their lives. For, we were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Celebrating the seder in the security of our homes, we commit ourselves this night to guaranteeing a home for all. May we work in the coming year so that our national home rests on a foundation of justice.
Our ancestors were at least allowed to dwell in the land of Goshen. This night we invite to our table those who are told they can have no place to call home.
DISTURBED BY THE INJUSTICES ABIDING IN OUR MIDST, WE ALSO GIVE THANKS THIS NIGHT.
Last year we prayed that Gilad Shalit would spend this seder with his family, and our prayes have been answered. The KKL-JNF has temporarily frozen the planned eviction of the Sumarin family from Silwan and agreed not to plant over Al Arakib before a court decision on land ownership. The army has committed to not demolishing the school of the Jahalin Bedouin between Jerusalem and Jericho, nor to moving them yet again without consultation. The Hushiya family is working their land again after four years. Some Israeli families in public housing have been spared eviction and have had their homes repaired. After eight years on the waiting list, Maya now has a home. Last summer’s protest movement showed us that the demand for justice yet burns in the hearts of most Israelis.
MAY THESE GLIMPSES OF WHAT COULD BE STRENGTHEN OUR RESOLVE TO STRIVE FOR WHAT MUST BE:
NEXT YEAR IN A JERUSALEM REDEEMED THROUGH JUSTICE
The Four Children at the Seder Table: Which Child Am I?
As we celebrate this Holiday of Freedom, the ending of slavery, we ask, “Who am I, when I hear of human rights abuses? Who will I choose to be when I know that others are suffering?”
Will I be one who does not ask? Will I close the newspaper or turn off the television , the computer or the mobile device so that I do not hear or see?? Will I turn my head and heart away?
Will I ask only simple questions? “What is this?” Will I ask what, but never why?
Will I let the evil impulse, my yetzer hara ask: “What has this to do with me?” Will I let the problem belong only to the victims and the do-gooders? Will I distance myself from those in need?
Or will I strive to act in wisdom, to ask: “What are the underlying causes of the problem and what needs to be done to stop the abuse and free the oppressed? What are the laws and what does Gd expect of me?”
May Gd open the eyes of those who do not see, the mouths of those who do not ask, and the hearts of those who do not care, and grant us the wisdom to open our hands to our fellow humans when they are in need – the hand of generosity, the hand of support, the hand of peace and friendship.