At a Passover Seder you learn
not to gulp down the first
glasses of wine. Friends might tell
you the wine’s honeyed sweetness
represents the promise of spring
or the joy of generations
gathered around the festive table.
You know, though, the wine
will moisten your throat before
you must swallow sand-dry matzoh.
This pock-marked cracker, they will tell you,
is called “the bread of affliction.”
In it you will find the crumbs
of bricks baked in slavery and the ashes
of those who perished in the pogroms
and in the Holocaust. You will hear
of the haste in which it was prepared,
how it baked on the backs
of those who fled from plague-
struck Egypt. As you listen to these
stories, retold each year,
you will learn of the importance
of savoring the sweet Passover wine
first; you will learn of the necessity
of holding onto this sweetness
as we tell the stories we must share,
even as these tales clearly diminish our joy.
This is how we celebrate our deliverance
from “narrow places.”
This is why we also call matzoh
“the bread of freedom.”
This ritual is a way we honor our God,
the One who brought us out of slavery.
the One who promises us freedom within
our Holyness, through our telling of the past,
and growing into the rebirth of Now.
"With all the beauty surrounding me here above the Verde Valley, how could I not create more beauty?"