DAY 1397: The Passover Seder – The Illusion of Order and the Reality of Chaos

April 27, 2016
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 1397: The Passover Seder – The Illusion of Order and the Reality of Chaos

The setup of our Seder last night. The calm before the storm (lol)

– Scott Gursky

Dear Hevreh,

Our tables are set with an expected order. Forks on the left with the salad fork on the outside; dishes stacked to reflect the order in which we will eat; and the wine and water glasses neatly arranged for ease of use and aesthetic value. An immaculately set table is abeautiful sight to behold but it’s orderly beauty is set in contradistinction the wonderful chaos and life of a meal. Spilled drinks, table banging, loud children noises, interrupted conversations, and bellowing laughter make meals — especially large Seder meals — an incredibly messy, but beautiful, experience to have. It’s as if the order we impose at the start of a meal cannot contain the chaotic life that the meal unleashes. Like God trying to make order out of chaos at the beginning of Genesis and then realizing that humanity is too difficult to contain (Adam and Eve, Tower of Babel, Noah’s ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.), the imposition of order is only an illusion of trying to control that which we cannot.

This juxtaposition of the desire to impose order with the reality of chaos is at the heart of the tension of the Passover seder. As Rabbi Shuli Passow writes “[The Seder] is not a simple ‘order,’ as its name suggests. rather it takes us back and forth through the full range of the human experience, messily mingling life with death, joy and sorrow, suffering with liberation.” Our lives are messy and wonderful, so if we want our rituals to be relevant they must reflect that chaos. Still, it’s nice to at least start out with a beautifully set table.

Hag sameah

Rabbi Ari Saks

P.S. If you’d like to discuss some more mystical teachings of Passover, stop by Menlo Park Mall’s Food Court at 12 pm TODAY for Ask the Rabbi: Passover Edition!

Category : Holidays home Passover Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
Tag :