Tuesday, March 19, 2013

PESAH: Understanding the Seder (Part 1)

Throughout its symbolisms and traditions, the Seder of Pesah makes us revive the bitter experience of slavery and the sweetness of freedom. It invites us to visualize ourselves as if we were slaves, who are actually leaving right now our misery in Egypt for good.  

We have two types of symbols in the Seder.  

On the one hand, the maror (bitter leaves), the haroset (or Haligh), and the vinegar (or salted water) all reminders of a cruel slavery.

On the other hand we have the four cups of wine, the representation of our departure from Egypt and the fact that we seat reclined - as was done exclusively by the Kings and Lords in antiquity - all symbols of freedom and liberty.

On this night, we rebuild the scenery of the events that took place at the time of our Exodus. Refreshing our collective memory and transmitting to our children who we were and who we are, where we coming from and how did it all began.  But, keeping one strategy in mind during the whole Seder, celebrating our freedom, without forgetting our ancestors' suffering.

There is one element in Pesah that beautifully encompasses these two antagonistic memories simultaneously: the matza ( see "the Story of matza" here ).

During the coming days we will review the steps of the Pesah Seder and we will hopefully learn its performance and meaning. 

Monday, March 25th 2013 at night, we will have the first Seder of Pesah. The Seder begins with the Holiday consecration and its official inauguration: the qiddush.  Upon concluding the qiddush and the blessing sheheheyanu everyone shall drink his or her first cup of wine, while leaning on the left side. Each cup should contain at least 3 ounces.  Throughout the Seder we drink four cups of wine. Symbolizing a joyous celebration of the four expressions of freedom found in the Tora. If one cannot drink wine, it could be substituted by grape juice or diluted wine. 

  Dear readers, I have been very busy with personal matters during the last days. I had no time to prepare the list of products for Pesah as I did in previous years. B'H, I hope to do this today and present the list in tomorrow's HOTD. Also, I  will try to have a link with the forms, for those who wish to sell their hametz.