That's okay. It beats slavery, which is the whole point of this week.
And when you add in the Omer--the forty-nine days of counting leading up to Shavuot, the Festival celebrating the Giving of Torah--the focus on and intensity of this next period of time on the Jewish calendar is quite remarkable.
So yeah, I'm tired. But that's okay.
Up late last night for Seder One and up late tonight, absorbing the lessons of Seder Two, not at home like Seder One but at Shul, with more than 110 guests and a busy maintenance crew, anonymously setting up tables and chairs, and then delivering to the tables the food we ate, while waiting to then clear the tables of our dishes.
At one point, during the Birkat Hamazon (Grace After Meals) I spied the kitchen, seeing the men sitting on stools, waiting for us to finish. Sometimes we talk baseball; sometimes we talk politics; and sometimes they anonymously clean up the ceremonial meals that we Jews eat to mark the Shabbat and the Festivals. I get that it's a job and all, but still: something tells me we need a new way to thinking about this. I'm not sure what it is, mind you. But a new way seems generally like the right direction.
In some of the early commentary to the Haggadah, there's a terrific debate about the prepositional meanings of the fine, Hebrew grammar distinctions between the prepositional "you" and the direct objectival "you." Each carry their own weight. But the distinction is used to hammer home the point that when Moses was addressing the Israelites about the rules they would need to follow once they entered the Promised Land. Prepositional is considered more distancing from the essence of Torah whereas the direct objectival is somehow binding upon past, present and future generations. There is implied if you will, in the grammar, a connective quality that spans time and generations.
To wit: the less distance the better. That is to say, I get that it's a job to set our tables and clean up after us, but I wonder if our Congregational Seders should be inclusive of our Staff ("even the strangers who live among you") and not just us and our family and friends. I wonder if the words are only true if we are sharing the Passover story with "our workers?"
Next Year in Jerusalem can mean something entirely new. Do you know what I mean?
How is that we can celebrate our personal story of redemption from labor when others labor to make our storytelling possible? We need to figure this out. Ideas welcome.