I have previously posted about the Passover Sedar we hold at our house each year:
In 2008, one thing we focused on was “We think about from what, to what, and what we have to accomplish to initiate and complete the transition.” This year we want to expand a bit on that: thinking about what risks have to be taken in order to successfully achieve freedom and have to happen to enable people (or communities of people) to take those risks. Perhaps we can consider what implications this has for the current day.
I read a passage from a Dvar by Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, rabbi of B’Nai Yehuda Beth Sholom, a Reform congregation in Homewood, Illinois, during my preparation this year:
“If we were to try to summarize the purpose of the Seder ritual in one sentence, we could find that sentence in the Haggadah itself:
“Bechol dor vador, chayav adam lir’ot et atzmo k’ilu hu yatza miMitzrayim—In every generation, each of us must see ourselves as if we, ourselves, went out from Egypt.”
The foods we eat and dip, the prayers we say and sing, the telling of the story—all these are designed to enable us to relive the experience of the Exodus.
It is not a story of some other people long ago; it is OUR story. We were there. We were slaves, who tasted bitterness and wept salty tears and made mortar for bricks and baked flat bread. And we were liberated, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with signs and wonders. We, ourselves, experienced these things and, each year, we re-enact them out of our primal memory. We raise our cups and remember both our oppression and our freedom—together.”
At our Sedar we have gotten in the habit of passing out quotes associated with our theme.
The following are the quotes we are using this year:
Eric Hoffer, 1902-1983, American social writer
In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
Helen Keller, 1880-1968, American author, political activist
The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next.
Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, 3rd American President, author of the Declaration of Independence
We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed.
Frederick Douglass, 1818-1895, American social reformer, orator, writer
Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightning.
Edward Abbey, 1927-1989, American author and essayist.
Freedom begins between the ears.
Andre Gide, 1869-1951, French author, Nobel Prize literature winner.
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
Wayne Gretsky, 1961-, Canadian hockey player.
You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.
Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865, 16th American President.
If the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers.
Amelia Earhart, 1897 – 1937, American aviator and author
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.
Trina Paulus, Hope for the Flowers, a novel for adults and others (including caterpillars who can read, American author, advocate for organic farming
“How does one become a butterfly?” she asked pensively.
“You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”
Louis Carroll, pseudonym for English author Charles Dodgson, 1832-1898, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
“Thinking again?” the duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin. “I have a right to think,” said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried. “Just about as much right,” said the Duchess, “as pigs have to fly.”
Rosellen Brown, 1939-, American author, wrote Before and After
A slave is one who waits for someone else to free him.
Mignon Mclaughlin, 1913-1983, American journalist and author
Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.
Charles Kettering, 1876-1958, American inventor, engineer, businessman
If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749-1832, German writer, artist, biologist, physicist
Everybody wants to be somebody, nobody wants to grow.
James Gordon, American psychiatrist
It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t.
It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.