Be confident in your Jewish knowledge
A lesson learned and homework assignments from my Passover Seder.
You ever have something to say and hold yourself back because you think, "Well, maybe I'm wrong or it sounds stupid?" Don't.
I recently did this in a Jewish setting. On Shabbat, I was listening to a rabbi speak about how matzah is the "bread of affliction" as it represents our lowest point in history, how we need to balance the bad with the good in our lives.
I disagreed when I heard this. To me, matzah has always represented the good, how we got the command from Gd to get the heck outta dodge and left so hastily for freedom that we didn't have time to let our bread rise. But I didn't speak up because I thought I was wrong since it went against what a rabbi was saying.
Then a couple of days later, I got an email from a Jewish org with the subject line, "Does it also annoy you there is no National Matzah Day?!" praising matzah as "humble happiness" and representing "exhilarating freedom because after 210 years of subjugation, in the split second that we fled, we morphed into a free nation (hence why the dough didn’t have time to rise)."
This matzah perspective change taught me three things:
I should have spoken up because matzah has various meanings, especially because sharing different perspectives is a core trait of Judaism
Just because an authority figure says something doesn't mean their one opinion is right
Some people really do genuinely love matzah! Weird, huh?
I hope you had wonderful Seders sharing different perspectives and making your own meaning (and matzah recipes!).
For my family Seder this year, I gave our guests homework: bring one piece of art/music/quote/article/anything that resembles a theme from the Exodus story and explain its significance. I was blown away by what everyone contributed!
Someone compared Pharaoh and the Israelites to white supremacists and replacement theory. One person brought a book on the Black Death that had a whole chapter on the Jews and their own Exodus from European countries that blamed them for it. Someone brought his 85-year-old Maxwell House Haggadah from his childhood! Another person compared artwork of accentuated red hands to the bloody hands in “The Prince of Egypt” during the blood plague. Someone wrote a poem to Moses inviting him to help lead a people during time of doubt. I shared the song below!
You Are Never Alone - Socalled
I found this song a few Drops back when I was searching for songs written by Wild Western Jews. Socalled, or Josh Dolgin, is not Western, nor is he American. He’s Canadian, but this song intrigued me as it was described as “Spaghetti Western hip hop cantorial.” What a description!
This song compares Jewish cowboys to the Jews of the Exodus, wandering the desert of a strange land. The lyrics contain juicy themes like hope, Kaddish, being a leader, the Chosen People, etc. This is one of the most interesting songs I’ve ever heard, and the music video above is neat too!