Posted by Byron Rovegno
You can view the program at the following link: https://vimeo.com/531555951
 
P Stuart introduced Rabbi Jaymee Alpert from Congregation Beth David in Saratoga to explain the meaning of the symbols, traditions, and ceremonies associated with Passover and the story of the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt.
 
Passover celebrates Jewish people leaving slavery in Egypt departing for the promised land, Israel. The celebration represents freedom, springtime, rebirth and renewal. Passover lasts eight days.Seder dinner is on the first two days and consists of fourteen steps outlined in the Haggadah.
 
A typical Seder plate contains the following:

Roasted egg –  recognizing sacrifice and celebrating rebirth
Horseradish root – bitter root  Marror - bitterness of slavery
Green vegetable – spring
Salt water – tears of slavery
Haroset- Apple/nuts/cinnamon/honey and wine – to mimic mortar used to make bricks with straw.
Shank bone – represents blood of the pascal lamb-children of Israel ate at first Passover.
Orange – added about 35 years ago -inclusive of women, LGBTQ and marginalized people.
Matzah – three pieces of unleavened bread noting there was no time to let it rise due to departing Egypt quickly. Bread of poverty and bread of freedom.
Manichevitz wine – four cups of 3.3 ounces [sometimes liberally measured] representing the four promises by God to the Jews in
Exodus:
            Pick your people out of Egypt
            Save your people by giving them freedom
            Rescue your people
            Make you my people
 
For dessert, adherents put the middle section of the matzah bread into an Afikomen bag and place it on their shoulders to represent the burden of slavery and then remove the burden by taking it off and serving it with something sweet for desert symbolizing sweet freedom.
 
For example, today we would think about burdens we’ve taken on with covid and imagine what freedom from the pandemic will feel like.
She then talked about Mageed or “to tell” where the youngest child reads four questions:
            Why do we eat matzah?
            Why do we eat bitter herbs?
            Why do we dip twice?
            Why do we recline?
 
The rabbi then told the biblical story of Moses.
 
We had fellowship to answer the question: What enslaves you and what liberates you? Answers ranged broadly—work, food, children, taxes, even Rotary.
 
She concluded with the song “Dayenu” which celebrates being liberated and grateful for being so. Dayenu means: it would have been enough and refers to all the things God gave the Jewish people, any one would have been enough.
 
Passover is the time of festive meals, to share stories and at the end to invite Elijah into your home. Work toward the messianic era and in the meantime work to make the world a better place. When Miriam is present, fresh water springs from the ground, so drinking fresh water is also a custom.