Passover rituals reminders of freedom

first_imgJews around the world will gather at sundown today for the start of Passover, the Festival of Freedom marked with a ritual meal, or Seder.Passover marks the freedom and flight of the Israelites from Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II more than 3,000 years ago. The observance includes a Seder on the first two nights, when symbolic foods are served and the Haggadah is read, recounting the story of the Exodus. “Passover is the root narrative of Judaism,” said Rabbi Harold Schulweis of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino. “It’s especially important today because religion must be based on freedom of choice. Passover is a reminder of the many ways we are enslaved. We are enslaved by the pursuit of money and fortune and by our selfishness.” Schulweis said he looks forward to the part of the Seder when a bitter herb – typically horseradish – is eaten. The experience reminds him of his childhood, when his grandfather told him the bitter herb allows those at the Seder to feel with their whole being what it was like to be enslaved. (818) 713-3708160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“People think that it’s natural to want freedom, but it’s not innate,” Schulweis said. “Passover is a reminder that you have to fight against that inclination to be subservient. You shall be independent, not enslaved.” Participants at Seder use a guide book called a Haggadah. Each person is given a Haggadah in order to actively participate in reciting blessings, eating the symbolic foods, discussing themes of freedom and singing traditional Seder songs. “Passover is the season of our freedom. Redemption is, to me, the most important part. On many levels, what you are today is not what you may be tomorrow,” said Cantor Paul Dorman of Temple Ramat Zion in Northridge. He led a Seder Tuesday for the temple’s religious school. “The original holiday was about spring and renewal. … I told the children to remember all the opportunities that they can have because they are free.” [email protected] last_img

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