Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thoughts of Pesach and Peoplehood

Throughout the generations people have defined and redefined the “wicked” child at the seder. I think an interesting question to pose at the seder is – who or what would be the contemporary “wicked” member of our people: Someone who is still at the seder, who we still speak with, even though they really make declarations rather than asking questions. (Take a careful look at the various verses used as proof texts for each of the sons.)
A flip side of the same thought process is, when we say “Elu V’elu divrie Elokim Chaim” (“Both these and these are the living words of God): In our opinion, whose is the OTHER opinion we deem appropriate, or legitimate – even though we disagree? It seems that the definition of the legitimate “other” has become increasingly narrow.
What are the contours of the Jewish community with which we feel comfortable? Whom are we vilifying? Who threatens and scares us? Who do we see as a legitimate other voice?
Pesach is about peoplehood, the formation of a nation. Have we written off some of our people too easily? Do we think they do not have a legitimate voice? Do we see them as “wicked”?

These are some of the questions I would like to raise at the seder. I am not looking for answers, just raising some questions.

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