Thomas Fiffer breaks with tradition to offer four new questions for the Passover seder.
The Jewish holiday of Passover is about oppression and freedom. Jews solemnly remember our time of slavery in Egypt, our perilous escape, the years of wandering in the wilderness, and finally entering the promised land. It is a time of both reflection and rejoicing.
The holiday teaches many lessons, but for me the primary one is about human dignity and empowerment: we honor the principle that no people should be enslaved or oppressed.
One tradition of Passover (memorable for me as I was the youngest in my family) is that of the youngest child asking the Four Questions to answer why is this night different from all other nights?
Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzah, but on this night we eat matzah?
Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables, but on this night we eat bitter herbs?
Why is it on all other nights we do not dip even once, but on this night we dip twice?
Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?
Today, I would like to propose four alternate questions, for Jews and non-Jews alike to ask on the holiday.
Why is it that people around the world still live under oppressive regimes that limit their intellectual, religious, and economic freedoms?
Why is it that people in our own wealthy nation go hungry, with no bread, or matzah, or vegetables, or bitter herbs to eat?
Why is it that so many people still fight against our right to choose whom to love and whom to marry?
What can each of us do, in our own ways, to fight the scourge of oppression, the slavery of poverty, the limits imposed by prejudice and intolerance, and to empower more people to be free?
Originally published on Tom Aplomb.