Todd went to school in Jerusalem and was there for the Easter/Passover season. While there, he attended a Passover Seder hosted by a Jewish Rabbi. While we have been married it has become our family tradition to have a family Passover Seder each year. We love how it teaches our children about other's cultures and traditions. It has always been important to us to help our children understand and appreciate differences in others.
I find it amazing to think that we are participating in an event that has been celebrated for over 3000 years! What a stabilizing tradition in a very destabilizing society we live in today. During a Passover Seder there is an account and symbols to help remember Moses leading the Israelites out of the bondage of Pharoah. There are four cups of wine drank during the Passover Seder. These cups of wine symbolize the four redemptions promised by God to the Israelites in Exodus. First, "I will bring you out of Egypt", second, "I will deliver you from bondage" (recounting miracles such as the parting of the Red Sea), third, "I will redeem you", and fourth, "I will take you to me for a people."
There are several interesting Mormon ties into the Passover Feast. As part of a Passover Feast, there is a place setting made for Elijah to prophet. It has been prophesied that Elijah will return during Passover. Also as part of the ceremony, someone goes and opens the door to invite Elijah to enter and take his place at the Passover Seder.
In D&C 110, Joseph Smith records visions manifested to him and Oliver Cowdery in the temple at Kirkland, Ohio on April 3, 1836. First the Lord Jehovah appears in glory and accepts the Kirkland temple as his house. Next Moses and Elias each appear and commit their keys and dispensations. As a side note, there is an interesting question proposed at Feast Upon the Word about this idea. The question for vs 11 is: Moses. Why did Moses have the keys for the gathering of Israel? What does that gathering have to do with his role as the prophet who led the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt, but not into the Promised Land? Continuing with D&C 110, finally Elijah returns and commits the keys of his dispensation as promised in Malachi. What is coolest of all is that these visions occur during Passover of that year. Elijah did return during Passover, quietly, and the Jews are not aware that their prophesy was fulfilled. That holy and symbolic ceremony that has been performed in its "orderly" manner for over 3000 years, set the precedence for its modern day fulfillment with both Moses and Elijah returning to provide the keys for the modern day gathering and sealing of God's people to him.
A funny thing happened during our Passover Seder this year. There are traditional songs that we sing each year during our Passover Seder. One is "Who Knows One". It is a song kind of like the "12 Days of Christmas" that replays important Jewish with each number ie 1 is God Our Father, in Heaven and in Earth, 2 Tablets of the Law, 3 are the Patriarchs, 4 Mothers of Israel, 5 Books of the Torah, and so on. The other song we sing is Dayenu. The word "Dayenu" means approximately, "it would have been enough for us", The song is about being grateful to God for all of the gifts he gave the Jewish people, such as taking them out of slavery, giving them the Torah and Shabbat, and had God only given one of the gifts, it would have still been enough. This is to show much greater appreciation for all of them as a whole. (from Wikipedia, Dayenu) After singing the traditional parts of the song, it is the tradition for each person to add a verse of their own gratitudes, each getting more and more specific, to the pinnacle items. Just like the traditional song ends with the ultimate thing they are grateful for, being the temple.
In our family Todd happened to go first this year and he added:
"If God had built the Temple for us, and not given us a nice home to live in, "Dayenu" (we all say). " If he had given us a nice home to live in, and not given us good jobs as a means to provide all for our good life, "Dayenu" (we all say, and then go into the chorus of Day-Day-enu, Day-Day-enu, Day-Day-enu, Dayenay, Dayaenu!)
Jonah went next:
"If God had given us good jobs as a means to provide all for our good life, and not given us our families "Dayenu" (we all say). " If he had given us our families, and not given us our friends to enjoy life with, "Dayenu" (we all say, and then go into the chorus of Day-Day-enu, Day-Day-enu, Day-Day-enu, Dayenay, Dayaenu!)
Nick went next with:
"If God had given us our friends to enjoy life with, and not given us good food, "Dayenu" (we all say). " If he had given us good food, and not given us water, "Dayenu" (we all say, and then go into the chorus of Day-Day-enu, Day-Day-enu, Day-Day-enu, Dayenay, Dayaenu!)
Lastly, I went to close out the ultimate of ultimates with:
"If God had given us water, and not given us our good health, "Dayenu" (we all say). " If he had given us good health, and not given us books! At this point there was a pause and sputtering, mumble, mumble "Books?" The boys can't bring themselves to say books here, so I quickly try to improvise this spontaneous response of mine to make it more appealing and add, "and the internet, people sharing ideas, that's what I mean."
Todd replies, "Your too late... You said books!" and starts up with, "Dayenu" (which we all say, and then go into the final chorus of Day-Day-enu, Day-Day-enu, Day-Day-enu, Dayenay, Dayaenu!)
And thus ends our Passover Seder for this year, and thus the title and real purpose of this post.
I am so grateful for books, the internet, and the ways that people can connect and share ideas online. It has been spring break this week so I have had time to read a few books and catch up on some blogs that I follow and click on some links I normally would not have the time to do. I have been brought to tears four times this week.
First, I finished reading the book, "The Dirty Life On Farming, Food and Love" by Kristin Kimball. On page 257, the part, "Watching that guy's collard flutter into his basket was the moment I got married, in my heart. There is no such thing as escape after all, only an exchange of one set of difficulties for another. It wasn't Mark or the farm or marriage I was trying to shake loose from, but my own imperfect self, and even if I kept moving, she would dog me all the way around the world, forever." I bawled! This was a message to me!
Second, I read the book, "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. On page 131, in a letter from Eli (a 12 year old boy) to Juliet, "Is there an animal you'd like to have? I want to carve a present for you, but I'd like it to be something you'd favor. Would you like a mouse? I am good with mice." I bawled! This showed in simple elegance the incredible and simple strength of human beings reaching out to connect and bond with another human they deeply care about. Like a cat, offering their loved owner a caught mouse. (You probably have to read this book to get this quote fully, or maybe it is just me.)
Third, I clicked and watched the link to the TED speech, "Amanda Palmer: The art of asking" (starting about 11 min and 30 seconds). "My music career has been spent trying to encounter people the way I could on the box. Blogging and tweeting, not just about my tour dates and my new video, but about our work, our art, our fears, our hangovers, our mistakes...and we see each other. And I think when we really see each other, we really want to help each other." I bawled!
This is why I choose to bring up books in the Dayenu Song! The power to connect and see each other. As I spend two hours on my final free day of spring break, writing and sharing these experiences of mine. I have looked to the side of my screen and am mocked when I see that I have 0 followers to my blog right now. Why am I doing this? Will anyone read this!?! I don't know.
The power of human beings intrigues me. I love "Les Miserables". Over and over it brings out the tremendous inner resilience in humans for goodness and the ability to endure, reach out, connect and survive, to find a way to have hope when none seems possible.
I'll close with my last bawling experience of the week, from the acknowledgment section of Mary Ann Shaffer in "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society", pg 304. "I hope, too, that my book will illuminate my belief that love of art--be it poetry, storytelling, painting, sculpture, or music--enables people to transcend any barrier man has yet devised."