Three weeks and three days from today, Passover will be upon us.The highlight of Passover is the Seder-the meal of remembrance, fellowship and enhanced awareness of the Divine.
Seder, "order," in itself is a term that taps into a depth of the human psyche that is profound reason for gratefulness.
Without the notion of order, our physical and psychic worlds would be places of chaos and terror. As the human mind proceeds to discover dimensions of order in physical space- natural changes in the seasons, the ebb and flow of the oceans' tides, laws of gravity and magnetism that maintain the sensitive equilibrium of earth and the planets around us, the cycles of birth, life, decay and death, laws of cause and effect-all phenomena that lend some predictability to the complexity of the cosmos, we cannot help but feel only grateful wonder for the marvelous fragility of human existence.
Consider the mechanisms of the mind. Perhaps the most basic definition of psychosis, of human insanity, is inextricably connected to the experience of psychological chaos and disorder. Imagine the inability to perceive the world around you in terms that are predictable and understandable; the sheer panic of psychic isolation and utter confusion. It is the awareness of order that renders us sane, confident even happy. One can succinctly say: "I am, therefore I thank!."
Passover begins with the introduction of an order, a structure shared by others which conveys a process by which we arrive at greater God- consciousness. Obviously, for many others, Passover and the Seder may be related to in a diversity of other ways-ethnic, familial, historical, social, culinary and cultural. To me, Passover's greatest gift and challenge is its invitation to enter into a spiritual process of discovering strata of the sacred in the lives we lead, taking us through ritual, prayer, song , food and drink, to a place of elevated God awareness..
I believe that each of the fifteen steps that constitute the Seder experience represent rungs on the ladder of this spiritual ascent.
Forthcoming postings will hopefully help us further understand these steps. I am greatly grateful for the Breslov Haggadah, containing the extraordinary insights of the founder of this branch of Hassidism, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov(1772-1810.)
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