Tonight begins the first evening of the Passover holiday, upon which we have our traditional Passover meal, called a Seder. Passover is a celebration of freedom, and it is a mitzvah (righteous act) to invite both Jews and non-Jews to partake in the meal—in other words, to enjoy freedom together.
Seders are all different. Some have very religious, traditional Seders that take hours. Others have very modern Seders, putting freedom into a completely different context than the original Exodus tale. Some use an ancient Haggadah (Seder texts). Others a very modern one. We, for example, have made our own Haggadah, to reflect who we are as people, and as Jews. It’s far more universal, English, and shorter than traditional Haggadot, and yet all the essentials are still there, tying us to a tradition thousands of years old, binding Jews (and their non-Jewish friends) in a ceremony that dates back to before the time of Christ (and indeed, I believe that his last supper was said to be the Seder meal).
I’ve always enjoyed the Seder (although I’ll admit, the longer and more traditional Seders can lose me as the hours proceed…). I have very fond memories of my grandparents putting on epic Seders, of going to Seders at the homes of other Rabbis and friends, and for the last few years Michelle and I hosting our own. Whether Jewish or not, I recommend everyone try and get to one, at least once in your life, if you can.
Happy Passover and a great Seder to my friends, family, and readers of my ramblings. And if you’re not going to a Seder, please take a moment this evening and think about being free—because ultimately, that is what the rituals of Passover do; remind us of slavery and redemption, to cherish our freedom, and to work towards a more just and free world for everyone. May next year, all of us live in a world at peace.