Vail Daily column: Modern-day exodus
On Friday, on the first eve of Passover, Jewish families around the world will observe a 3,300-year-old tradition by gathering around the festive table to commemorate the exodus from Egypt and celebrate the Passover Seder.
According to the teachings of Jewish mysticism, the Seder is more than just a time to retell the story of the exodus; instead, the observances at the Seder table allow one to actually re-experience a modern-day exodus, facilitating one’s own spiritual rebirth and enabling man to forge a new path toward a life of meaning and spiritual fulfillment.
The Passover Haggadah, which records the Seder’s narrative, tells us that in each generation we must see ourselves as if we personally have gone out of Egypt. Kaballah teaches that Egypt and its nefarious pharaoh symbolize the negative forces that constrict and limit the human being. The slavery in Egypt represents the emotional and psychological shackles that confine and enslave the human spirit, constraining one’s ability to live up to his or her fullest spiritual potential.
Thus, the Passover Seder is no ordinary holiday meal; it is a 15-step multi-sensory program that reaches deep into the human psyche in every way possible and all at once: A tapestry of rich melodies, dynamic visuals, prayers and stories, even the visceral senses of taste, smell and touch are part of this important tradition.
Each year on Passover, as nature experiences its own season of springtime renewal, we participate in the Seder tradition and experience our own renewal and rebirth. At the Seder table we commemorate the exodus from Egypt and the birth of the Jewish nation over three millennia ago — and at the same time embark on a modern-day journey to spiritual freedom.
For more information on the Seder and Passover, visit http://www.JewishVail.com. There you will find much information regarding the historical background of the holiday, Seder RSVP, how to partake in Passover and many delicious Passover recipes.
Wishing you and your family a happy, kosher and liberating Passover.
Rabbi Dovid Mintz is co-director of the Chabad Jewish Center of Vail.