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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


March 23, 2018  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

Give props to the Passover story

By RABBI LEAH M. HERZ Director of Spriritual Care, Menorah Manor

Take a peek into any preschool classroom and you will likely see a crowd of darling little children all gathered in one corner of the room where the “dress-ups” are kept. Hats, scarves, suits, skirts, shoes, costume jewelry, boas and other articles of clothing, help children to engage in playacting and to escape into a world of make-believe in which they can become anything or anyone they want to be. A recent article in Very Well Family magazine tells us that by using their imagination, “preschoolers can gain vocabulary skills and confidence,” and that, “role playing, especially when it happens with other children, encourages taking turns, cooperation, and socialization.” Taking on another persona and dramatically telling a story, brings the event to life in a way we might not otherwise experience through a simple reading.

Play acting should not solely be the domain of preschoolers. At this time of year, Jews throughout the world join with family, friends and strangers around tables laden with mostly edible “props.” Using the Haggadah as our script, we engage in a form of role play by re-telling the story of our miraculous redemption from servitude in Egypt. And although most of us will not be costumed during our Seders, we will nevertheless do our best to convey the story of the Exodus according to the commandment that we see ourselves in the narrative.

This is not a tale about something that happened thousands of years ago to someone else in a place far, far away. This is a story that we are to experience as if happening in real time, right here and right now. Our “props” take on special significance. Chopped apples mixed with wine becomes mortar for bricks. Salt water morphs into the bitter tears of slavery. We sing. We dip. We lean. We praise. We talk about the types of slavery that still exist in our world today. We do all that we can to transform ourselves into the lead actors in the saga which defined us as a People.

We can all learn a lot from preschoolers. This year may we too let down our guard and allow our imaginations to run free so that we might experience yeztiat mitzrayim, the coming out of Egypt, in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Wishing all a Siesen Pesach.

The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press in cooperation with the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. Columns are assigned on a rotating basis by the board. The views expressed in the column are those of the rabbi and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Jewish Press or the Board of Rabbis.

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