Why is this night different from all other nights?
On this night, we gather together to prepare for PassoverPassover is a major Jewish holiday that commemorates the Jewish people's liberation from slavery and Exodus from Egypt. Its Hebrew name is Pesakh. Its name derives from the tenth plague, in which God "passed over" the homes of the Jewish firstborn, slaying only the Egyptian firstborn. Passover is celebrated for a week, and many diaspora Jews celebrate for eight days. The holiday begins at home at a seder meal and ritual the first (and sometimes second) night. Jews tell the story of the Exodus using a text called the haggadah, and eat specific food (matzah, maror, haroset, etc)., outside of our kitchens, in a way our foremothers could have never imagined.
On this night we join as a community to rid ourselves of a different kind of hametzLit. Leavening Any food made of grain and water which has fermented and risen and is thus prohibited to be eaten during Passover.'.
What do we cleanse ourselves of tonight?
The exhaustion of cleaning and cooking.
The echo of exclusionary language.
The weight of history.
The fear of women’s voices.
The silencing of women’s stories.
The violence done to women’s bodies.
The pressure to conform to one image of who Jewish women are supposed to be.
The lingering belief that this tradition doesn’t belong to women.
Let us gather all this together like crumbs. Like hametz we are ready to burn. Let us enter into this sederLit. Order. The festive meal conducted on Passover night, in a specific order with specific rituals to symbolize aspects of the Exodus from Egypt. It is conducted following the haggadah, a book for this purpose. The mystics of Sefat also created a seder for Tu B'shvat, the new year of the trees. as if there were no more hametz anywhere.
As if God had forever delighted in the image of Herself in each and every one of us.
As if freedom had been ours always, fully, like an open sea.
Kol chamira vchami’a
Every sort of hametz
Libateil v’lehevei hefkeir k’afra d’ara
Let it be null and void, ownerless, like the dust of the earth.
The Journey Continues: The Ma’yan HaggadahLit. "Telling.” The haggadah is the book used at the seder table on Passover to tell the story of the Exodus, the central commandment of the holiday. It is rich in song, prayer, and legend. There are many different version of the Haggadah produced throughout Jewish history. can be purchased for $12 + $4 s/h by emailing Ma’yan, email@example.com.
From The Journey Continues: The Ma’yan Haggadah (Ma’yan, 2000)