Sunday, May 22, 2016

Chag Sameach!! Redux

היום תשעה ועשרים יום שהם ארבעה שבועות ויום אחד בעמר
Today is twenty-nine days--that is four weeks and one day--of the omer
חסד שבהוד
A day of loving kindness in a week of humility

As much as I appreciate the big occasions in the Jewish sacred calendar--the festivals and holidays, with the ritual that goes along with them--it's the marking of the small moments, the ones more buried in the practice that give insight into the practicalities of the lives of the ancient Hebrews, while still creating space for a teaching from a modern perspective.

Today is Pesach Sheni, a day for those unable to celebrate Passover at its proscribed time of the 15th of Nissan.
Adonai spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Israelite people, saying: When any of you who are defiled by a corpse or are on a long journey would offer a passover sacrifice to Adonai, they shall offer it in the second month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. . . Numbers 9:9-11 
Commemorating our liberation from the slavery of Egypt is one of the most important rituals we have--so important that if something has stopped us from doing that at the proscribed time, we get a second chance. And not only do we need to stop to remember, but we are told that those who are with us are to share in the moment.
When a stranger who resides with you would offer a passover sacrifice to Adonai, he must offer it in accordance with the rules and rites of the passover sacrifice. There shall be one law for you, whether stranger or citizen of the country.                                           Numbers 9:14

This celebration is so important, so seminal to who we are and how we view the world, remembering that we were slaves, that we were freed. We need to remember the feeling of liberation and share it with others. There is no looking away from it, making sure we always have empathy for those who are enslaved, and raise our voices to help lead them to freedom.

And what a great excuse to have another seder :) Maybe one year I'll organize a seder sheni for anyone who missed the others. For now, I'll just have some matzah with butter, salt, and pepper--being able to enjoy the taste knowing I can go to bread any time I want :)

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