Decoding Rituals and Symbols of the Passover Seder

Inspired by Seder’s Message of Freedom

On a beautiful Wednesday evening, more than 50 people joined The Guibord Center – Religion Inside Out for “Decoding the Rituals and Symbols of the Passover Seder.”

The Seder is a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It commemorates the exodus of Jews from Egyptian bondage. Every year Jews come together to pray that they may carry with them the message of freedom emphasized in its symbols and rituals into their daily lives.

Meaning “order, arrangement,” the Seder meal comes with a preset order of events and activities including special foods and prayers.

Starting with an explanation, Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels of Temple Beth Shir Shalom, our gracious host, described each of the items on the seder plate and its special meaning. For those gathered, Rabbi Comess-Daniels even created a special Haggadeh, a small booklet containing the order of the Passover seder, used by the seder leader and participants to conduct the rituals of the meal. There are many different versions of the Haggadeh, often reflecting the customs of the communities they originated in.

We were treated to special songs and the seder delights of peach (lamb shank bone), matzah and mar (leaf lettuce or horse radish). And those gathered rejoiced in song, prayer and companionship.

The evening ended, as all Seders do, with a blessing to “see you next year in Jerusalem.” Rabbi Neil explained that, for many, “it’s the practice of closing our eyes and seeing with the eyes of our souls the vision of a city built by action and attitudes of peace.”

We hope the memories of this night inspire us to cast off our own shackles of intolerance, greed and hatred. May the light of freedom penetrate into all corners of the world and life the darkness of tyranny until tyranny is no more, so that all people may be free. Amen.

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