April 2, 2015 admin

Pesach 4: Reconnection

Something from Law and Tradition: Forming our Identity
The commandment to remember features strongly in Judaism: ‘Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy;’ ‘So that you remember the day of your departure from Egypt all the days of your life’. But memory is never simply recollection; it is rather reconnection, re-commitment. 
Thus at the Seder we don’t just recall the past, but, more importantly, rededicate ourselves to its values.
Judaism honours human beings with the title ‘partner with God in creation’; for example, ‘Whoever judges an issue fairly is counted a partner with God in creation’. Similar can be said of human efforts to feed the hungry, heal the sick or stand up for the cause of the oppressed. We are not entitled to leave it either to God or to other people.
At the Seder and on Pesach this partnership is ratified by our rededication to the causes of freedom, justice, dignity and compassion. There are numerous ways in which we can and should live out this commitment, both within our own people, for the sake of Judaism and Israel, and beyond, as part of the common humanity of all peoples struggling for what is good, right and just. As the great 20th century French Jewish philosopher Immanuel Levinas wrote:
The traumatism of my enslavement in Egypt constitutes my very humanity, that which draws me close to the problems of the wretched of the earth, to all persecuted people…My very uniqueness lies in my responsibility for the other; nobody can relieve me of this…To be free is simply to do what no one else can in my place. To obey the Most High is to be free.
Something from History
 ‘It was a sunny Easter Monday when I flew with my wife and two younger daughters (our eldest daughter travelled directly from Switzerland) to Brussels and then on to London….I shall never forget the moment we landed at Croydon, where two of my former pupils welcomed us.’ Thus wrote my grandfather of his escape from Germany on 9 April, 1939. Reflecting back on his experiences in Dachau in November 1938, he observed that he often thought of those who had shared the wretchedness of that place, but that it was ‘by comparison only a harmless prelude to the terrible fate’ which was to follow. He added that he also often pondered the miracle of the creation of a free and independent Jewish state.
In 1939, 9th April was the 6th day of Pesach. I asked my mother, who was 16 at the time, if she could remember anything about the Seders that year. ‘No’, she replied. Nor does my grandfather make any mention of them in his memoirs. 
When freedom is a matter of life and death, this is all that matters.
Something Practical
 In planning the Seder, find a line from the Haggadah, or a picture, poem or quotation which expresses solidarity with the Jewish People, and a similar passage or picture which shows solidarity with the human spirit. 

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