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Arielle Rosenberg

Even as we near erev Pesah, it’s easy to feel like our preparation isn’t quite done. We struggle with the nagging suspicion: there’s still some hametz hiding that we’ve not yet found.

Our liturgy anticipates this incompleteness. Upon finishing the search for hametz, we are instructed to say: May all the hametz that exists in my property that I have seen and have not seen, that I have destroyed and have not destroyed, be considered nullified and ownerless, like the dust of the earth.

We learn that by erev Pesah, even the hametz that we couldn’t find no longer belongs to us.

This Pesah, I want to let go of the hametz of doubt, of censorship, of judgment. I know that I must disavow even the hametz that I don’t yet know how to name. And from that place, rededicate myself to the work of moving towards freedom.

The Passover haggadah says: “השתא עבדי. לשנה הבאה בני חורין” Now we are slaves. Next year we will be free people. We experience our slavery when we disconnect from our neighborhoods. When we start ignoring our ethical impulse. When we stay silent before oppression. We grow heavy with the burden of inaction.

We shed a year’s worth of accumulated hametz to make space for the courage and clarity necessary to be good neighbors, allies, and friends. We must dedicate ourselves this year to justice, to curiosity, to challenging the status quo, that we might come to feel how deeply our freedom is linked with the struggle for liberation of all those around us.

May this year’s song be a song of liberation. Hag sameah.

For your seder: invite those at your table to draw clear connection between the story of the Israelites’ struggle for liberation and those who fight for freedom today. Let the seder be an opportunity to practice making explicit the ways in which our movements and communities are bound up together.

Arielle Rosenberg has loved serving this year as a BJ Rabbinic Fellow and is glad to get to continue as a fellow for another year as she finishes her final year of rabbinical school (b”h) at Hebrew College in Boston.