Making a Connection to the Passover Seder

One of the
things that I often struggle with at the Passover Seder is trying to link what
I am reading and the experience that the Israelites went through to the world
we live in today. In my family we began the tradition a few years ago of
inserting new rituals and liturgical additions to the Seder. Our additional
readings tend to center around remembering, praying for and vowing to help
those who are in need in our world today. Each year as a family we discuss the
many options for additional readings that are out there to decide what is
relevant and most important to us. I thought I would share some of what I have
found. This is such a great way to have a meaningful conversation as a family
and connect the conversation to the Seder. These are just three examples of supplementary
readings. There are many more on the internet that you can find to establish
your own personal connection to the Seder.


Let All Who Are Hungry: (The following
reading has been prepared by "MAZON: a Jewish response to hunger" to
be read at "HA LACHMA ANYA":)

Ha lachma anya,
recited toward the beginning of the seder, states that the matzah represents
the bread of poverty. This is followed by an invitation welcoming anyone in
need to the seder table. This reading, by an organization dedicated to fighting
hunger, is a reminder that the words are more than ritual and can be seen as a
call to action.

"The words are a pledge, and the
pledge is a privilege. Surrounded by the hungry and the homeless, we can redeem
the pledge. This evening, so that the hungry may eat, we contribute to Mazon, A
Jewish Response to Hunger, and we say, together:

Barukh eloheinu
sheb'tuvo he'vianu v'zikanu l'mitzvat matan mazon

Blessed is our God through whose goodness we have been
brought to the privilege of sharing our bread."



On this night, we remember a
fifth child.

This is a child of the Shoah
(Holocaust), who did not survive to ask.

Therefore, we ask for that child
— Why?

We are like the simple child. We
have no answer. We can only follow the footsteps of Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariah,
who could not bring himself to mention the Exodus at night until Ben Zoma
explained it to him through the verse: In order that you REMEMBER the day of
your going
out from Egypt, all the days of your life. (Deut. 16.3)

We answer that child’s question
with silence. In silence, we remember that dark time. In silence, we remember
that Jews preserved their image of God in the struggle for life. In silence, we
remember the seder nights spent in the forests, ghettos, and camps; we remember
that seder night when the Warsaw Ghetto rose in revolt.


(To be recited
after drinking the fourth cup of wine at the conclusion of the Seder.)

We read in the Talmud: These
four cups correspond to the four expressions of redemption which the Torah uses
in relating the events of Egypt: Vehotzeti and I shall bring forth: Vehitzalti
and I shall save; Vegaalti and I shall redeem: Valakahti and I shall take.
Rabbi Tarphon would add a fifth cup to correspond to Veheveti and I shall

And now, in our own time, when
we have been privileged to behold the mercies of the Holy One, blessed is He
and His salvation over us; in the establishment of the State of Israel which is
the beginning of redemption and salvation, as it is written: "And I shall bring
you into the land which I swore to give unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob
and I have given it unto you as an inheritance; I am the Lord.” It is fitting
and proper that we observe this pious act, the drinking of the fifth cup as a
form of thanksgiving. We give thanks unto the Eternal for the wartime miracles
and wonders He wrought for us. The mercies of the Eternal stood us in good
stead in time of dire peril, when seven nations united to destroy and
annihilate the Jewish state at the very time of its birth and yet once again
they pledge do annihilate the land and its people and plunge it into rivers of
blood and fire. The Eternal, in His loving kindness, frustrated the designs of
our enemies and vouchsafed victory unto us bringing us again to Jerusalem in joy.

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