In 1946, the U.S. Army printed a haggadah for the first Passover after liberation from Nazi control. A stirring series of woodcut images by Miklós Adler interweaves the Exodus story with the liberation of Jews in Germany after World War II.
With a master of midrash as our guide, we walk through the Exodus story at the heart of Passover. It's not the simple narrative you've watched at the movies or learned in Sunday school. Neither Moses or Pharaoh, nor the oppressed Israelites or even God, are as they seem. As Avivah Zornberg reveals, Exodus is a cargo of hidden stories — telling the messy, strange, redemptive truth of us as we are, and life as it is.
"And what is my life span? I'm like a man gone out of Egypt:
the Red Sea parts, I cross on dry land."
"Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through"
"the Tibetan people have learned about the secrets of Jewish spiritual survival in exile..."
"We still have a long, long way to go before we reach the promised land of freedom."
Pertinent Posts from the On Being Blog
How does one leave home in peace? Shari Motro reflects on how we all can find our way back, using the abundant lessons of the relationship between Pharaoh and Moses in the Exodus story. On the other side of it all, forgiveness and gratitude resides.
In our increasingly secular lives, we find ways to get at a purer distillation of who we are at the broken center of ourselves. A meditation on paying attention and finding prayer in quiet places and through unlikely sources.
A stirring set of questions from the Sephardic seder tradition creates a new space for a father's reflection on Passover.
A touching reflection by Mary Moos on spiritual displacement in a Roman Catholic family, finding a home in Judaism, and a better understanding of Christ during Passover.
The religious symbolism of fasting is an act of gratitude for the life you have and the time when you can eat again.
A cache of old documents recently discovered in Afghanistan reveals a thriving intellectual culture among Persian-speaking Jews — and a treasure trove for historians and Persian linguists alike.
As the world shrinks and technology empowers us, Jennifer Cobb says, we must not forget slavery can take many forms, including abdicating our responsibility of tikkun olam. What do you think of her assessment?
About the Image
An ultra-Orthodox Jew prays on Mount Gerizim overlooking Joseph's Tomb, one of Judaism's holiest sites, in the West Bank city of Nablus. The men received a special permit from the Israeli army to celebrate in the restricted area ahead of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot which begins at sunset and marks the day Moses gave the Torah to the Jews after their exodus from Egypt.
Voices on the Radio
Host/Executive Producer: Krista Tippett
Executive Editor: Trent Gilliss
Senior Producer: Lily Percy
Technical Director: Chris Heagle
Associate Producer: Mariah Helgeson
What may one of the great literary teachers of Torah and midrash — the Jewish tradition of reading between the lines of the Bible to uncover hidden layers of meaning — teach us about our own human longings? Hear what happens when she takes on Noah and the Flood, and Adam and Eve in the garden.
Rabbi Heschel marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., famously reporting that he felt like his legs were praying. Heschel practiced what he called “radical amazement” in his work with religious others. “The opposite of good is not evil,” he said, “it is indifference.”
We delve into the world and meaning of the Jewish High Holy Days — ten days that span the new year of Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur's rituals of atonement. A young rabbi in L.A. is one voice in a Jewish spiritual renaissance that is taking many forms across the U.S. The vast majority of her congregation are people in their 20s and 30s, who, she says, are making life-giving connections between ritual, personal transformation, and relevance in the world.
David Hartman died a year ago this week. The Orthodox rabbi was a charismatic and challenging figure in Israeli society, called a “public philosopher for the Jewish people” and a “champion of adaptive Judaism.” We remember his window into the unfolding of his tradition in the modern world — Judaism as a lens on the human condition.
A survivor of the Holocaust, in which he lost most of his family, Wiesel is a seminal chronicler of that event and its meaning. Wiesel shares some of his thoughts on modern-day Israel and Germany, his understanding of God, and his practice of prayer after the Holocaust.