The Seder service is one of the most beautiful of our observances.
It is rich with participation, visual props, a narrative with points to ponder, an array of interesting foods. On Seder night our table is a theatre. We are the ancient Israelites leaving Egypt. We are the sages at the table defiant against the tyranny of Rome. We are survivors of persecution; we are children born free. We are today’s generation, mindful of our past… expectant of the future.
We are diverse children – sons and daughters schooled in religion, apprehensive, hostile, questioning or naïve. We know those who have embraced greater observance and those who have moved away. For many, though, the Seder is a time when families come together. Familiar tunes. The way a loved grandparent used to read… the recipes of yesteryear… the plethora of kasher le-Pesach products on our shelves today. Once we were slaves to matza, butter, and homemade almond cake. Today we eat freely – every confectionary, beverage and condiment.
We have recontextualised our Seder service – considering the oppressed Jews of other lands; other peoples who cry for freedom. We have reflected upon those who are slaves to industry or health. We have considered suffering. We have considered those who call out to God – the delay; the response… What is our role.
The Seder service takes us back in history to the eve of our liberation. God required that we take a lamb – set it aside, sacrifice it in family groups – place its blood on our doorpost. God assured our ancestors – I will deliver – but you must opt in.
Every year we opt in. With symbol and song we re-enact the past and we reflect on its meaning to us today. With festivity and Afikoman treats we make Seder night one of the most lasting memories for our children. When they grow to make their sedarim for their children they invariably look back at the sedarim of their youth. Our opting in and commitment resonates through the generations.
The flow of the annual Seder is very beautiful. Many haggadot and explanatory guides exist to stimulate and challenge our understanding – so that every Seder can be a learning experience and a time of growth.
It is our pleasure to bring you this audio guide to the Seder. Over time we hope to add more commentary. In the interim with Rabbi Garber and Rev Hilton we have covered each of the main stages of the Seder twice. In the first track we explain the essential practices and blessings. In the second we highlight one idea or teaching to give that section even greater depth. Each of the tracks is no more than a couple of minutes.
Please feel free to download our commentary and bring its thoughts to your Seder table.
Click here to download
This is Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence from The Great Synagogue in Sydney wishing you a Chag Kasher veSameach.