Aryeh Ben David
Published on Times of Israel, April 14th, 2016
We’re going to try something new at seder this year.
For the first time in years, we’ll be having an adult seder. Kids are older and the
marrieds with the grandkids will be at the in-laws. What’s new?
This year we are not buying new Haggadot.
It seems that every year dozens of new commentaries on the Haggadah come out. A lot of wise people expressing their voices. But this year we’re not focusing on what other people have to say about Pesach. (The sociologist, Peter Berger, once commented that organized religion is a group of people coming together to celebrate someone else’s experience with God.)
This year — our Seder will be about sympathetic vibrations.
Sympathetic vibration is a harmonic phenomenon wherein a formerly passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness.
This year, we want to allow the Seder experience to cause us to vibrate. Judaism is a form of music; the Torah calls itself a song. Its wisdom not only teaches, but also evokes. It plucks our soul strings.
The stories of Torah are meant to resonate within us and evoke our own inner stories and self- awareness. When we move inside the story, when we open not only our minds but also our hearts, when we invite and allow the eternal wisdom of Torah to resonate within us, then we gain deeper insight into ourselves, our purpose, and our challenges. The music of the Torah plucks our own inner music; the message of the Torah causes our own inner vibrations.
The Pesach Seder is not meant to teach us. It is not a learning opportunity. We have 364 days a year to learn about leaving Egypt. The rabbis did not construct the Passover Seder for us to learn and teach about leaving Egypt without vibration. We wouldn’t be drinking 4 cups of wine, reclining on the floor, eating bitter herbs, and singing Hallel if the goal were to bring the leaving of Egypt into our minds. It is possible to talk about the whole story of the exodus without vibrating; without having it enter us and resonate within.
The Seder is meant to evoke. The goal of the Seder is to vibrate us. When we move inside the story, it plucks our inner story of journeying with the Jewish People. In Carl Jung’s language — the voice of our collective unconscious is awakened. We all have a unique role to play in bringing the Jewish people from our Egypt, our smallness, our meitzarim, to our Promised Land. We are always leaving Egypt.
To help us vibrate this year, we will ask everyone to reflect on and share their own journeying with the Jewish People:
This year, my role is not to find the brilliant insight or commentary of someone else; this year, my challenge is to go inside and listen to what the exodus experience is evoking in me. I have found that when one person begins to vibrate, this evokes vibrations in others. That’s my job this year.
Vibrating to the song of the Exodus will make Seder night different from all other nights.