Monday night we begin the Festival of Freedom and have a week of celebration! Passover is a holiday that looks backward at historical events and the liberation of our ancestors; and forward at the possibilities of our own lives if we truly abandon whatever imprisons us in our own day – our addictions, our pursuit of the material at the expense of the spiritual, our pride, our ambitions.
It has become the custom in many households to place an orange on the Seder plate. My colleague, Rabbi Cheryl Weiner, wrote, “Symbolically, the orange represents the Jewish people as a community, whole but made up of many sections…When peeled, the orange is made up of many sections, each of them representing aspects of the Jewish people. In addition, the seeds inside represent the multiple seeds that can give birth to new ways of expressing our Judaism. In its original form, Susannah Heschel told the story of how gay and lesbian people should be included in our traditions. Later, this concept was expanded to include all marginalized people, those who are denied access. Their juiciness and seeds contribute to nourishing each new generation with the richness of our traditions.”
At Congregation Emeth, we come from many different backgrounds. We hold different memories and approaches to this and every holiday. As our name Emeth implies we represent many truths, and all of them are welcomed here. May you experience and appreciate the differences represented by each of us in our precious congregation. (Emet literally means “truth” in Hebrew)
May you experience the joy of this holiday, truly appreciating the simple yet powerful words of the Haggadah: Once we were slaves and now we are free! Chag Pesach Sameach – Happy Passover! I look forward to sharing it with you.
May you have a joyous, liberating week of Passover!
Rabbi Debbie Israel