B’hol Dor Va’Dor

Posted: April 11th, 2014

By Rabbi Phil Warmflash, Executive Director

B’hol Dor Va’Dor, in every generation each of us who sit at the Seder table must feel that we, personally, have been redeemed from Egypt. We may read over this line in the Haggadah without even stopping to reflect on its significance.  It is, as I see it, one of the most important verses in the entire ceremony. Why is it so important for each to feel that we have just walked across the Sea of Reeds with Moses with the water standing as walls on our right and left, and then that we with danced and celebrated with Miriam when we reached the other side?  The answer is simple, and difficult at the same time: By seeing ourselves actually living through this transcendent historical moment we are, in essence, weaving ourselves in to the narrative of the Jewish people.

There is a beautiful illustration of this concept in the extraordinary Haggadah created by the artist David Moss. Below you will see his “B’hol Dor VaDor” page. What may be more difficult to make out in this copy is that the page is filled with pictures of Jews throughout the ages dressed according to their time. What looks like a black circles between those pictures are actually mirrors: Moss, in his image, is echoing the challenge of the text, to see ourselves in the Jewish story and, in that way, is asking us to add our own story to that narrative.

moss

How can you bring this concept to your Seder table on Monday night? Consider asking each person to describe what it felt like to experience redemption from Egypt.  Answers can be historical (Imagine what it actually felt like to be one of the 600,000 who stood on the shore of the Sea) or modern (Consider a time in your life when you were confronted by a barrier as daunting as the Sea. How did you get across and how did you celebrate?)  The key is to find yourself in this moment and, thereby link yourself through a common experience to everyone around your Seder table and to everyone who has ever sat or is sitting around a Seder table throughout our history.

Hag Sameah!  May you and your families have a happy and meaningful Passover!

 

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