I will not call what I did on Wednesday night a seder, but I would go so far as to call it seder-ish. I lit some candles, I ate some matzah, I drank some grape juice, I read some jew-y stuff, I bawled my eyes out.
When I spoke to Cherry (see last post) about doing something for Pesach, she said, “I’m sure you have a haggadah with you,” and I said, “Actually, I don’t.” (The haggadah is the text for the seder, the playbook if you will.) I didn’t bring much with me, and the haggadot (plural of haggadah) were not readily accessible, so I brought not a one. Did this faze Cherry? (What do you think?) “You can get one online,” she says.
So for my seder-ish I used the haggadah that the Velveteen Rabbi (aka Rachel Barenblat) has on her blog. It can be found here. You should really check it out if you are interested. It was a little different than what I had been used to in the past (which was probably a good thing) in that I was used to a bit more traditional language, etc., but I really found it to be a wonderful haggadah and would possibly use it again in the future. The reasons that I were drawn to the Velveteen Rabbi’s haggadah were:
- It was free.
- I’ve read a little of her stuff before and I knew that I like her writing and point of view.
- She has also written a book of poems about miscarriage, which I haven’t read, but I knew that she would “get it” (whatever “it” is) on some level that I am needing right now. This last one is not entirely logical, but it spoke to my gut, so it’s on the list.
A couple of highlights:
From page 8 (on the symbolism of the four cups of wine):
“A[n] interpretation is that the cups represent the four promises of liberation G-d makes in the Torah: I will bring you out, I will deliver you, I will redeem you, I will take you to be my people (Exodus 6:6-7). The four promises, in turn, have been interpreted as four stages on the path of liberation: becoming aware of oppression, opposing oppression, imagining alternatives, and accepting responsibility to act.”
From page 36 (before the blessing over the matzah):
“The matzah reminds us that when the chance for liberation comes, we must seize it even if we do not feel ready–indeed, if we wait until we feel fully ready, we may never act at all.”
There is so much more to say. I could write volumes on the above two quotes alone just about my experiences in the last month. I will keep posting about Pesach because it is becoming very powerful to me right now and seems to be exactly what I am needing.
Something interesting happened on Wednesday night. I figured I’d just go to my room by myself (not that my family would banish me there–mostly I didn’t want to cry in front of all of them), but I ended up with the house to myself for a couple of hours, which hadn’t happened since I had been here. When I went to light candles, I almost couldn’t. I felt almost physically incapable. I was crying and I found myself saying “I can’t do this.” The interesting thing is, that was what I was saying to myself a lot in the week before I left Mr X. So I can’t do what? I’m already doing it.
I did my seder-ish and so I am now carrying around with me a feeling that it is Pesach right now, even though I’ll not be found in shul, I’m not exactly eating “kosher for Passover,” and I’ll probably not even be found with another jew for the whole eight days. But I feel connected to my people, the people that I chose, and that is enough for now.