So, the matza “stuffing’ has been made and is in the refrigerator, the shank bone and egg are ready and we’re about to search for the hametz. But, before that happens- a quick thought.
I want to share with you a new text for your Seder which comes from a book called Hatzaah Liseder ” A Proposal for the Seder” published by Ydeiot Aharnot press in Israel some years ago. It is a fantastic book of commentary and suggestions and what I found most refreshing about it is that it was clearly intended for a secular audience, one which was looking for meaning in the rituals but were willing to look critically and seriously at the text of the Haggada.
Immediately after saying “Ha Lachma Anya”, “this is the bread of affliction” which marks the beginning of the magid, the storytelling section of the Haggada, the book suggests saying a kavana, an “intentional prayer” to direct our thoughts.Using the traditional form for such a kavannah:
“Harayni muchan umzuman lisapayr biyitzeeat mitzrayim yachad im kol Yisrael”
Behold I am ready to tell the story of the Exodus of Egypt together with all of the people of Israel.
What a beautiful thought. To think that as we sit at our table, Jews around the world will be telling the same story, each in their own way. Some will start earlier, some will start later as sundown dictates in their community but we all say it together. As sacred as is our individual havurah, our group sitting around our individual table with whom we will share the intimate experience of the Seder, each havurah, each group sits together knowing that others across the street, across town and around the world are telling the same story.
Pausing for a moment and reflecting on that as this kavannah suggests makes us realize how truly “different” this night is. May we all tell the story in our own way. But, may we never forget that we sit not by ourselves but with our people around the world, all of us engaging in this sacred storytelling.
Best wishes for a meaningful, sacred Seder. Hag Sameach.