Il n'est point de bonheur sans liberté, ni de liberté sans courage - Périclès
Dear friends and worldwide partners,
The texts of Ami Bouganim feeds us all along his books. This year, we are happy to share his thoughts about the meaning of Pessach and of its symbols.
May Pessach bring you the taste of freedom and self liberation.
With our warm wishes for a wonderful Pessach,
Joëlle & Gad
THE LIBERATION OF THE LAMB
The Haggadah of Pesach, which is sung and recited the evening before the Jewish Passover, is a collection of texts from the Bible and Talmud, laments and miracles, prayers and songs. It is a re-enactment of enslavement and liberation. A series of symbols, from bitter herbs symbolising the unpleasantness of slavery, to a sweet, liquidy paste symbolising mortar; from unleavened bread, symbolising the hurriedness of the Exodus from Egypt, to shoulder of lamb, symbolising the sacrifice made prior to the Exodus. It is also an assortment of tastes and fragrances.
The Haggadah of Pesach is a teaching of remembrance and liberation. A cradle of Jewish memory. A gathering of guests, including the closest and most intimate to the most distant and heavenly. The springtime pursuit of Shulamit in the wake of God too. It is the basis for a ceremony that is renewed each year; it is also a book of songs and texts of connection. The victims of slavery in Egypt are not named, but we imagine ourselves as the victims in order to better understand the struggle. It is a hymn to freedom and God.
Egypt was a land of plenty liable that could overflow with bad feeling like leaven. Now enslavement is a form of alienation waiting for the warnings that are inherent in the new regimes of gratification and over-consumption. This alienation is both internal and external. It always wants more and better things. Freedom, we now know, is an illusion. Perhaps freedoms. Freedom of movement and expression in particular. Otherwise this intimate word is a duty of freedom and we have never stopped liberating ourselves. We are not free while we are unconditional followers of permanent freedom – children of freedom, b’nai horin.
The evening is at once cathartic and initiatory. It breaks the accumulated alienation; it reconnects with the process of liberation. It takes us along a path that is both older and newer than before. The reading of the Haggadah does not cease to shift the crumbs and vestiges of freedom, to revive the embers of any burning bush. The closure of the ceremony marks a break from the opening. It begins by recalling the sacrifice of the Paschal lamb; it closes by accompanying the lamb as it gambols, with the playful song Chad Gadya. Of all the transformations that take place on the evening before Passover, this is the most charming. From sacrificed lamb to protected lamb.
For the Matanel Foundation