I was just reading a blog by Rachel Barenblat (http://www.velveteenrabbi.com/) that made me think about living fully this Passover. She comments on a recent posting by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi called Toward Freeing the Seder, in which he takes the fifteen steps of the basic seder structure and offers creative suggestions for making each of them one’s own. For anyone who has ever sat through a boring seder, the home service conducted on this Jewish holiday, you know that creative suggestions often are much needed. Reb Zalman is a genius when it comes to this sort of thing — and in general. So, take a look at his post. It’s well worth your time. I printed it out for my own use, and you can be sure that elements of it will show up during my seder.
Among other things, Rachel chose to highlight the section Reb Zalman wrote about the Four Questions, and I just loved the idea of doing this section differently. In fact, Reb Zalman’s suggestions made me start thinking about how well these questions play into my Living Fully Challenge. Here’ s what he says about the Four Questions:
Use your pencil and paper to jot down your four questions. What are
Or your four questions about Judaism.
In other words, if I want to get some answers to my questions this
night, what are my real questions, the ones I want answered?
Mah nishtanah halyla hazeh? Why is the night different? And
what about life? Why is life different from what I expected? Jot
down four “Differents,” four “It isn’t as I had thought it would be”-s.
Rachel commented: “Imagine using those four questions in your seder, questions that arise out of who you are this year, in this moment, as this festival unfolds! How would that change your experience?”
I think I’ll ask participants at my seder to answer, “How am I different this year.” And, given that the topic of discussion in general revolves around freedom, “If I were free, how would I choose to be different?” By that I mean, if nothing were holding you back — finances, ego, doubt, family, boss, time, etc. — how would you change? I’m not necessarily talking about external situations now, because those issues would be gone. If nothing were in the way of you being the best you possible, who would you be?
Of course, the question that logically follows is: Can I be that person now despite what I perceive to be holding me back? Can I be free to live my life fully right now?
Now, whether you are Jewish or not, you can ask yourself these questions. You don’t have to participate in a Passover seder, nor do you have to wait for Passover or a seder to ask these questions. In fact, ask away right now if you want!
To read all of Rachel’s blog, go to http://www.velveteenrabbi.blogs.com/. She’s also got a Passover haggadah of her own. Check it out. Plus, she’s a great poet.