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Zooming Our Way Through Seder 2020: Renee’s Guide to Finding Our Way From Lockdown To Liberation

Renee Brant

SEDER means order.  Every year we are commanded to re-tell our story of liberation from Egypt (Mitzrayim, meaning place of constriction) as if we are living it now.  We are instructed to tell the story in an orderly fashion, to create a transient experience of order in our disordered world.  

We endured a lot of obstacles and challenges back in the day: Pharaoh; slavery; lock-down; plagues; running for our lives while carrying our matzah with us; and then the Red Sea.  We did make our way through to the far side of the Red Sea, led by Moses with the guidance of the The Force.  We were relieved and happy and Miriam led a party of dance and song.  Dayenu!  That would have been enough!  That is as far as we get in our Passover Haggadah, but the story continues. 

If you read on in Exodus, you learn that escaping Egypt was only the prelude to the much longer story of our trek through the wilderness.  Because we kvetched and lost faith, we had to take a circuitous path for forty years, with a lot of sighs and highs (Mount Sinai) and lows (the Golden Calf).  

We finally reached the Promised Land, but it was not the perfect place we expected.  We realized that we would continue to encounter other pharaohs within ourselves and around us.  We would complain, get lost, lose faith, fall down, and rise up, again and again.  We would need to find our way through challenges and tight spots in every generation, as we continued our path toward love, freedom, and justice for all.  We discovered that the goal of the Promised Land is a process and ongoing journey, not a place.  Life would continue to be bitter and sweet, like the mixture of maror (bitter) and charoses (sweet).  And occasionally, if we are lucky, we are given the gift of an angel who can create the almost perfect matzah ball.  We savor it and ask for more, until they are all gone.  We keep searching for more, but the afikomen will have to suffice until next year.

And so, in case we had any doubt about it, we know with certainty that we are living the story of Passover right here, right now. We are in lock down.  All of humanity is experiencing a plague.  We are all interconnected.  We are in this together.  Who will live and who will die?  What each individual chooses to do or not do impacts everyone else in our family, our community, and our planet.

So, we need to tell the arrogant or doubting child, that yes, we must tell and retell this story every year and in every generation.  We need to continue to fight Voldemort and the Forces of Evil.  We have met the Enemy and it is within us.  Moses and Miriam are also within us.  The struggle continues.  We still have a lot to learn about community, compassion, wisdom, love, faith, courage, and repairing our suffering planet and humanity.  We are discovering the true wise leaders and  everyday heroes in our midst.

May the Force be with us as our journey continues.
Next year in… a place of greater shalom, wisdom, compassion and generosity. Amen.

Sat, June 22 2024 16 Sivan 5784