#blogexodus : (the cup of) redemption

the sec­ond cup — the cup of redemp­tion — כוס גאולה

Think of each cup of wine as a toast to the gen­er­a­tions of our peo­ple who com­mit­ted them­selves to the strug­gle for lib­er­a­tion in their own day.

With the sec­ond cup of wine we recall the sec­ond promise, the sec­ond stage, of our redemp­tion, the actu­al res­cue […]

#blogexodus : freedom — braiding three strands

a braid of three strands

There are many pos­si­ble modes for under­stand­ing the events retold in the Pesach Hag­gadah.

Of these, three are braid­ed togeth­er so that, if we con­cen­trate exclu­sive­ly on any one of them, we dimin­ish the spe­cial qual­i­ties of the entire sto­ry.

By par­tic­i­pat­ing in the sym­bol­ic actions built into the order of the Seder,
we […]

#blogexodus : slavery — shapes, colors, sounds

shapes, col­ors and sounds of slav­ery
make room in your haggadah/seder for the youngest:

what words, shapes, col­ors and sounds do you imag­ine when you think of slav­ery?

#blogexodus : cleansing (waters of miriam's well)

the cleans­ing waters of miriam’s well
What fol­lows is the rit­u­al I have used at my seder since the mid 1990s.

Before the Seder begins I fill the bot­tom quar­ter of a large pitch­er with slices of orange (and often sprigs of mint) then fill the remain­der with ice cubes. Once you can no longer put in any more ice, […]

#blogexodus : (learning from) the signs

the signs

We each need to learn dif­fer­ent things at dif­fer­ent stages of our lives.

Pharaoh was unwill­ing to release his labor sup­ply.

Pharaoh thought him­self a god. He believed he could do what­ev­er he want­ed to with indi­vid­u­als or entire peo­ples. He need­ed to learn the dif­fi­cult les­son: there exists a Source of Pow­er beyond the self.

A series of […]

how do I cleanse my life of chametz?

rab­bi meir shmuel ben tzip­po­rah v’nechemia hale­vi [ר‘משבצונה“ל] teach­es:

Judith came in from the fields where it appeared as though the whole com­mu­ni­ty was out har­vest­ing the new grain crop. The rains had ceased and the ground had dried enough to enable them to walk through the plants and col­lect the ripened sheaves. The stone house […]

#blogexodus : getting beyond the straits and narrow

how could so many peo­ple leave at one time?

Amaz­ing­ly, in our own day we have already for­got­ten that “Hun­dreds of thou­sands of… refugees streamed home­ward…” [Rwan­dan refugees; James C. McKin­ley Jr. of The New York Times in the Los Ange­les Dai­ly News. Sat­ur­day, Novem­ber 16, 1996.] Refugees all over the world seek shel­ter and com­fort.

And […]

time for pruning

the days grow short, the moon fills and begins to wane.

The date clus­ters hang ready.
Come with me to the oasis.
The late sum­mer har­vest has begun.
I sort the fruit of my past year’s labor.

The fruit is full and sweet.
I look back on my year’s efforts with sat­is­fac­tion.

The time for prun­ing has come.
Much dross weighs down my […]

6 on a scale of 1 to 10?

judge every­one, how?

In Pirke Avot 1:6, R. Joshua ben Per­achi­ah says:

והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות

The phrase is var­i­ous­ly trans­lat­ed as:

judge every man in the scale of mer­it
judge every man towards mer­it
Judge every per­son favor­ably
Give all indi­vid­u­als the ben­e­fit of the doubt
Judge the whole of a man to the side of mer­it

It is hard not […]

what would dad think?

poli­ty not piety™

Yes, that’s a “trade­mark” sym­bol there. Why not? I con­tin­ue to tell peo­ple that I came to the rab­binate out of “poli­ty” not “piety”. My involve­ment was as a com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­er. A quick check on Google indi­cates that I’m near­ly the only per­son to have used it… and, at that, sig­nif­i­cant­ly more fre­quent­ly.

nathan hurvitz

Our father died 25 […]