One is supposed to think about Passover at least two weeks ahead of time. A friend shared this from her Seder sourcebook; You cannot just walk into a major life transformational experience like a seder -where you discover your every essence as a human and a jew -with no preparation. Last week at Kiddush I was shown one congregant’s choice of Haggadah for seder, it was a family decision, he and his father had discussed using a new creative one for this year, this moment, this time.
Nisan, the new month began last Shabbat. The Torah calls it Hodesh HaRishon, the first month for Israelites as a free people. It begins the calendar year, it is full of possibility and newness. Every other month comes behind it. So the Seder offers us that renewal and refreshing of ourselves.
We look always for ways to refresh and amplify this story of liberation that stands at the centre of our Jewishness. The recollection of trouble and then escape, moving into gratitude. This is at the heart even of keeping Shabbat (so Deuteronomy’s version of 10 sayings remind).
Pesach is one of the three pilgrim festivals -foot festivals-without the temple what do we make of the movement and journey that Pesach, Sukkot and Shavuot ask for?
Mitzrayim, always translated as narrow place, the straits, offers as always a symbolic place from which to move as well as the ‘historical’ land.
For Seder to capture our imaginations and hearts we work hard to bring ourselves into this story.
How are we prepared. As we clean (to whatever extent we do clean) what do we throw away that keeps us stagnating? How do make this 7 days and the Sedarim be moments for personal integrity. As Aviva Gottleib Zornberg says:
It is for this reason that the Exodus and Passover focuses so compellingly on telling and retelling the story. It is only by taking real risks of language …that the self can reclaim itself…
Start thinking, attending and preparing for this.