Secrets of the Seder from Rabbi Jacobson to You!

Here’s the link:

Here’s who it’ll link  you to:

Rabbi Simon Jacobson knocks me out!  A Lubavitcher  who could just as easily be a Zen Roshi or a Sufi master or a Christian mystic, here he presents an understanding of the Passover Seder, the holiday ritual featuring a meal or meal surrounded by ritual–your choice–guided by his desire to reveal the relevance of the holiday and to show–with true Kabbalistic understanding–the spiritual/psychological reality depicted in historical events.  If you can spare an hour 34 minutes and 36 seconds of this busy time, please click on the link and listen to him tell it.

If not, or as a less than scholarly introduction to it, here are my notes.  Yes, I took notes while I listened:

5 Ways to Transform the Seder

Introduction:The central theme of Passover is the freedom represented by the Jews leaving Egypt 3324 years ago, relevant today as spiritual liberation and psychological liberation from restraints imposed by our fears, passions and inhibitions, by our feeling the need to be self-protective or dishonest, restrictions which constitute any block to our being fully realized human beings.

The 5 steps are marked–cleverly enough–by 5 words beginning with S, E, D, E and R:

SPEAK     All are encouraged to speak out, to not submit to the will of oppressors by holding silent.  In the Pesach (the Hebrew word for the holiday which means the mouth that speaks) ritual 4 children ask questions relating to the meaning of the holiday.  One of them is described as the wicked child, the one who asks, “What’s all this crap about anyway?”  That child is needed as much as the others, so he is invited back year after year.

EMPATHY     The holiday begins with an invitation to ALL to be welcomed, for ALL to sit at the Seder table and be part of the celebration.  Life is not just about me!  The matzoh, the unleavened bread, represents humility, just as bread which has risen is inflated like ego.  The bitter herbs, symbol of suffering, are placed at the center of the Seder table.  The center in Kabbalah is reserved for compassion or empathy, so this positioning speaks for itself.  As to it’s relevance for us, focus on another’s struggle liberates us for the moment from self-concern.  Thus empathy yields the ultimate self-benefit.  Empathy leads to the greatest happiness.

DIP     There are several moments in the Seder when dipping or immersing occurs.  We dip our fingers into salt water, our matzoh into the sweet haroset or the bitter horseradish.  We count out the plagues by dipping our fingers into the wine.  Symbolically here’s where we get into the wonderful mysticism that unites Judaism with Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and the Hindu faiths.  The dipping represents our immersion, our being intimately and sustainingly in deepest connection to the sea of life, to interdependence, to oneness with all.  It bespeaks selflessness, ultimate seamless and non-duplicitous reality.  It is letting go and being  truly “in the zone.”

EDIFY or ENLIGHTEN     When we speak, do we edify and illuminate the topic?  Or not?  In my interactions with others am I drained or empowered?  Do I drain or empower them?  Hmm…

REMEMBER     Passover reconnects us with the past, with our personal and cultural histories and traditions.  It connects us to eternity.  Memory allows us to transcend time and space and thus to reach the great ultimate reality.  It connects us to that which truly matters.

Passover fuses body with soul, ritual with spirituality, tradition with relevance.

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How does this tie in with your traditions and beliefs and what you’ve figured out about life?

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm  Comments (1)  
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