Shabbat Parashat Tsav Four New Questions for the Seder Shabbat HaGadol (Erev Pesach)

Dear Friends,

We approach Passover this year with the understanding that not all is well in the world around us. It has been a truly difficult year. This is the second Passover that we are experiencing under the shadow of the pandemic. Yes, the shadow is lifting. But, it is still with us.

And now, we have just heard the news of two mass shootings that occurred in the United States of America this past week.

The Exodus story, which we celebrate on Passover and recount during the Seder/s, is the beginning of the story of the redemption of our people from slavery. But, the trek to the Promised Land was a long and treacherous trek. It had its ups and downs. Despite the ups and downs, the vision of true and lasting freedom and the hope of the fulfillment of that vision, is what has kept our people going both in ancient times and throughout the generations.

Today, in our imperfect world, we are still on a continuum of the journey that began with the Exodus – the journey from slavery to freedom.

There is, clearly, still a way to go until we will all be able to see the ultimate fulfillment of the vision of our prophets – a vision of universal peace, of justice, of respect and of kindness.

Yet, along the way, we celebrate and we recall the promise of the Exodus, especially as we read the time honored words of the Haggadah.

There are, as you know, four traditional questions in the Haggadah which children (or adults) ask during the Seder.

This year, I suggest that we add four new questions to our Seder, and that we take the time to discuss them on Passover:

In the Haggadah, we say: Every one of us should see ourselves as if we were redeemed from Egyptian slavery.

First Question: This year, in what ways am I personally, or are we, communally, free? In what way/s am I, or are we, still enslaved.

In the Haggadah, we say: We are telling the story of our people beginning with the difficult stuff, and we end up by telling of our successes.

Second Question: This year, where would I place myself, or my community, on the continuum that stretches from enslavement to true and lasting freedom?

In the Haggadah, we say: Dayenu – it would have been enough.

Third Question: This year, what am I personally, or are we, communally, able to say with a full heart that I/we am/are grateful for?

In the Haggadah, we say: Next year in Jerusalem.

Fourth Question: This year, what step/s can I/we envision for ourselves to bring us closer to our vision of Jerusalem, to a place of wholeness, to a place of true and lasting peace?

I hope you enjoy thinking, considering, and discussing these questions, either as part of your Seder or throughout the entire Passover holiday. And may our Passover celebration bring us to a spiritual place of greater strength, greater hope and greater fulfillment this year and in years to come!

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Pesach Kasher v’Sameach – a kosher, and a sweet and a very happy Passover to you and to your loved ones!

Rabbi Gilah Dror