This past Sunday we held a religious school Mock Seder. It was exhilarating to sing the classics, ask the questions, and watch our children repeat the story of Exodus. Of course we had the hunt for the Afikomen, which symbolizes the end of the feast and the beginning of our journey as satisfied, free Israelites.
Just before the Seder we acted out bedikat hametz, with a candle and feather to wipe away the extraneous fluff from our homes. The spring cleaning ritual is also symbolic of our spirit, a time to let go of residual effects of trauma and experiences that enslave the spirit and thwart renewal.
I find these two rituals, bedikat hametz and Afikomen, bookend this season of liberation. Without a sense of what needs to be expunged, both physically in our homes and spiritually in our hearts, we cannot expect to magically taste matzah and maror and sing Hallelujah. There is work to be done, both the avodah (work/holy service) of preparing the home for the spirit but also iterating the vision of next year in Jerusalem on high, an ideal state, to be realized next year.
The Afikomen, an inversion of the historical Greek practice of moving from house to house in search of more to consume, is an end to the search. It is instead taking pleasure and satisfaction in what we have. Liberty is freedom from want. To eat and be satisfied, with the poor and the stranger at our table, is as important as the mitzvah of four glasses of wine and dipping twice. To say Dayenu, it is enough for us, and mean it, is more than a song; it is a prayer.
Rabbi Micah Hyman
Rabbi Micah Hyman has returned to SLO county after five years around California. Rabbi Hyman (or Micah) serves as the Executive Director of SLO HIllel at Cal Poly, and teaches about material culture and spiritual life. He has served pulpits in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Paris. Rabbi Hyman has also been an innovator in experiential education, serving the Jewish Museum in New York, the Spertus Institute in Chicago, and ANU: The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. He enjoys SLO living in all its Nature and Culture, smoking lox, on the water, and hiking with his sons Nathan (17) and Theo (14).