In years past The Shalom Center honored the Seventh Day of Passover by being closed. But today we choose to honor the Seventh Day by sharing with you the video of a “Seder conversation” we sponsored last night on the question: What does the Seventh Day mean this year, so different from all other years? Mah nishtana?
I invite you -- I encourage you -- to watch and listen to that conversation. Feel free to share the link with all your friends. Feel free to pause the video to discuss it with your housemates, to call your community and watch it together in your separate places. Click this link!
What is special about the Seventh Day? According to tradition, that was the day the Children of Israel, fleeing slavery, reached the Red Sea. Behind them was Pharaoh’s Army, racing to force them to return to their accustomed slavery, with its perks of onions and garlic. Before them was the unknown. The Sea that might be New Birth, if the birthing waters broke. Or the Sea of Drowning, if they didn’t. The Sea of Freedom-Maybe. The Sea of Active Hope. The Sea of sharing life with all life-forms, not imposing slavery and forcing plagues on Earth as well as Humankind.
The entire human race stands now, today, at that moment.The Coronavirus Plague has been a lightning-flash, illuminating the darkest hidden places of our world. Domination. Subjugation. Fear. AND joyful neighbors, ready to help each other if we need the help and simply ask. That joy also hidden from us in the race for domination.
We can go forward into wilderness, the unknown – that’s what freedom is. We can go forward seeking to create the Loving and Beloved Community. Or we can go back to the world of Pharaoh: Subjugation, and the Plagues both social and biological that Subjugation bring us . That will do us in.
I welcome you to the joy of conversation about the Seventh Day for all the world. Shared songs, chants, poems, teachings:
Rabbi Shawn Zevit facilitating with spiritual leaders and activists as well as his own Spirited music, Cantor Linda Hirschhorn with “Circle Round for Freedom,” R. Shefa Gold and Rachmiel O’Regan with a chant and teachings from the Song of Songs, R. Mordechai Liebling on the social plagues and Faryn Borella on the biological plagues we suffer, Hazzan Jack Kessler and Daniella Forstater with a new haftarah weaving the ancient Prophet Malachi and today’s Prophet Greta, R. Rayzel Raphael with her song “By the Shores of the Red Red Sea,” R. Phyllis Berman with The Overstory’s wisdom about the community of trees, Rabbi Marcia Prager, R. Lee Moore, Lynne Iser, R. Joanna Katz, R. Simcha Zevit on the spiritual roots of change, -
I can tell you, this is a spiritual gem in both its parts:
Pt. 1 THE REALITY WE FACE NOW
Pt. 2- HOPE, FAITH AND ACTION MOVING FORWARD
Once again -- I invite you -- encourage you, implore you! -- to watch it. Feel free to share the link with all your friends. Feel free to pause the video to discuss it with your housemates, to call your community and watch it together in your separate places. Click this link!
And if, when you are finished, you feel inspired to take your own steps into and beyond the Red Sea, please come back here to write us your own answers to the Four Questions we ask at the end.
And if you want to help us keep doing that work, please made a contribution by coming back to this letter and clicking on the maroon “Contribute” button just below.
With blessings that we move forward in the steps of Nachshon ben Amminadav, who boldly walked into the Sea till he was about to drown -- and then, only then! -- the sea parted --
Shalom, salaam, paz, peace, namaste -- Arthur