A guide to help you invigorate your Seder, create lively discussions and make personal connections with the Exodus story today.
For many people, the act of simply reading the Haggadah no longer fulfills the Passover Seder's purpose: to help you feel as if you personally had gone out of Egypt. Too often, the ritual meal has become predictable, boring and uninspiring.
Creating Lively Passover Seders, Second Edition, is an innovative, interactive guide to help encourage fresh perspectives and lively dialogue. With three new chapters, this intriguing Haggadah companion has been revised, updated and expanded, and offers thematic discussion topics, text study ideas, activities and readings that come alive in the traditional group setting of the Passover Seder. Each activity and discussion idea aims to:
Deepen your understanding of the Haggadah
Provide new opportunities for engaging the themes of the Passover festival
Develop familiarity with the Exodus story, as well as the life and times of the people who shaped the development of the Haggadah
Reliving the Exodus is not about remembering an event long ago, but about participating in a conversation that provides hope and strength for the struggle to make tomorrow a brighter day. With this complete resource, you can create more meaningful encounters with Jewish values, traditions and texts that lead well beyond the Seder itself.
David Arnow, PhD, a psychologist by training, is widely recognized for his innovative work to make the Passover Seder a truly exciting encounter each year with Judaism's most central ideas. He has been deeply involved with many organizations in the American Jewish community and Israel and is a respected lecturer, writer and scholar of the Passover Haggadah. He is author of Creating Lively Passover Seders: A Sourcebook of Engaging Tales, Texts & Activities and coeditor of the two-volume My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries, with Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD (both Jewish Lights).
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments to the Second Edition xiPreface to the Second Edition xiiiAcknowledgments to the First Edition xvPreface to the First Edition xviiIntroduction xixHow to Use This Book xxiiiA Few Words for Seder Leaders xxvA Note on Rabbinic Literature, the Haggadah, and Translations xxvii
1A Dish for the Ages: The Seder Plate 1Confused? • Experiment with Your Plate • A Taste of History • Why Does This Plate Differ from That One?
2The Long Road from Slavery to Freedom:From Ancient Egypt to Our Time 17Slavery in Ancient Times • Exodus and the American Ethos • The Great Seal of the United States: Israelites Crossing the Red Sea versus a Pyramid • Former Slaves Speak • Let Freedom Ring: Historic Words on Freedom • Jewish Values and Social Justice:American Jews in the Antebellum South • Slavery in Our Time3The Four "Questions": Who's Asking What and Why? 37Engaging Children during the Seder: An Ancient Lesson • Questions about Questions • The Greek Symposium and the Jewish Seder • Why These Particular Questions?
4Passover After the Temple: From Sacrifice to Story 45Judah the Prince and the Seder • Telling the Story: Some Ancient Advice • "The Medium Is the Message" • Taking Elaboration Seriously • Art Midrash:"Begin with Disgrace and End with Praise" • Crossing Rivers and Taking Responsibility
5Five Super-Sages in B'nei B'rak 57Five Super-Sages:Their Times and Teachings • Banning Rabbi Eliezer • Gamaliel’s Conspicuous Absence: Fingerprints on the Haggadah
6The Four Children: A Seat at the Table for Everyone 67The Four Children • Torah versus Haggadah • The Wise versus the Wicked: A Recipe for Conflict or Conflict Resolution? • Four Voices on Four Children
7Hardening Pharaoh’s Heart: The Toughest Part of the Story 81The Bible and the Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart • The Commentators’ Struggle • The Softening of God’s Heart
8The Festival of Spring: Reconnecting Passover and Nature 93On Spring and Time • The Origins of Passover:Two Views • History Trumps Nature • Activities, Blessings, and Readings
9The Exodus as a Personal Spiritual Journey 111Exodus:The Spiritual Journey • Milestones along the Road • Crossing the Sea and the First Song • The Journey’s Ultimate Purpose10Enslaved in Egypt: Why? 123The Covenant of the Pieces • Israel Enslaved: Many Questions, Many Answers • Joseph and the Enslavement? • The Self-Critical Voice: Benefits and Dangers
11“Strangers in a Land Not Theirs”: Remembering to Treat the Strangers among Us Justly 137Knowing the Heart of the Stranger • A Blessing:Treating Strangers Justly • Two Midrashim on the Stranger • Two Zionist Leaders on the Stranger
12“In Every Generation . . .”? God’s Role in History and the Jewish People’s History among the Nations 147God: The Elephant, as It Were, at the Seder • Arguing with God • The Sages on Innocent Suffering • Modern Voices
13“Go Out and Learn . . .”: How the Haggadah Tells the Story of the Exodus 163How the Haggadah Tells the Story • The Pilgrims’ Prayer and the Haggadah • A Much-Interpreted Phrase • Laban and Pharaoh • Deuteronomy’s Israelite History without Sinai
14Women of the Exodus: Redeemed by Their Righteousness 177Passover in an Upside-Down World • Women and the Haggadah: Missing in Action • The Women of the Exodus in Midrash • Eden and Egypt:Two Tales of Exodus • Serakh bat Asher and the Exodus • The Legend of Miriam’s Well • The Ritual of Miriam’s Cup • Redeemed through Blood and Water: Balancing Elijah’s Cup with Miriam’s Cup
15The Ten Plagues: Who Suffered and Why? 197Plagues Against the Israelites? • Why Spill Wine from Our Cups? • When Our Enemies Fall • The Plagues and Knowing God • Signs, Wonders, and Faith: Or Did the Plagues Fail? • Measure for Measure • Revealing the Creator through Anti-Creation16Moses in the Haggadah: The Human Role in Redemption 213Where’s Moses? • “Not By an Angel . . .” • Why Minimize Moses? • Fresh Readings:The Haggadah and the Human Role in the Exodus • The Covenantal Context of Redemption • Righteous Women, Apple Trees and Charoset • Purim in the Haggadah • In Every Generation • Five Midrashic Voices on Redemption
17Dayyenu: It Would Have Sufficed 231First Songs:The Song at the Sea and Dayyenu • Roots? • Why Fifteen Divine Favors? • Dayyenu as Microcosm • Sinai Without Torah:Would It Have Sufficed?
18Reliving the Exodus: The Story of the Last Night in Egypt 241Setting the Stage • The Last Night in Egypt • Bibliodrama: Knocking in the Night • Bibliodrama:To Stay or to Leave? • A Prayer for the Journey • Marching from Egypt to the Promised Land
19Israel and the Haggadah 253The Fruits of Israel and Egypt: A Puzzle • Israel’s Absence from the Heart of the Haggadah • Whither Israel? • The Fifth Cup • Readings for the Fifth Cup • Passover, Messianism, and Israel
20The Restoration of Wonder: The Miracles of Egypt and Our Day 271The Bible and the Dictionary • The Sages on Miracles • The Restoration of Wonder • Jewish Voices on Miracles • At the Red Sea: The Horse and Driver
21“Blessed Are You . . . Who Redeemed Us”: The Seder of Redemption 287The Seder of Hope: Tuning in to Themes of Redemption • Redemption in the Bible and the Ancient Near East • An Age-Old Question: Why Did God Redeem the Israelites from Egypt? • The Four Cups of Redemption • A Quartet of Twentieth-Century Jewish Voices on Redemption • On Faith in Redemption
22Passover without a Seder: The Paschal Sacrifice 305Passover in Egypt • In Temple Times • The Passover Rite • Sources on Sacrifice • Sacrifice in Our Lives Today
23Elijah’s Transformation: From Zealot to Folk Hero 319Elijah Comes to the Seder • Elijah’s Cup • The Biblical Elijah • The Elijah Puzzle • Modeling the Potential to Change • A Mirror: A Tale of Elijah and the Seder • “Pour Out Your Wrath” versus “Give Up Anger” • More Than Vengence Alone
24Two Seder Songs: Echad Mi Yodea and Chad Gadya 333Echad Mi Yodea: Mysterious Origins • A Night of Numbers • Counting What Matters • The Ba’al Shem Tov • Chad Gadya • Inspiration? • Came the Commentators • Modern Voices • The Haggadah’s Last Word:A World of Eternal Life
25The Exodus from Egypt: The Question of Archeology 349History and Story • Five Sage Perspectives on the Exodus and History
Appendix I: Chapter Ten of the Mishnah Pesachim, the Night of Passover 357Appendix II: What Is Midrash? 360Appendix III: Directions for Art Midrash Projects 361Appendix IV: Blessing for the New Moon 362
Abbreviations and Abbreviated Titles Used in This Book 364Notes 366Select Bibliography 403Index 407