A Passover Blessing for People of Many Backgrounds Who Journey with Us

By Rabbi Maurice Harris

In the Book of Exodus, we read that when the Hebrew slaves were finally able to break free from Pharaoh’s grasp, a mixed multitude of people fled Egypt with them. From our first moments as a nation, we discovered among us a mixed multitude of slaves and refugees, people of different languages and beliefs, journeying with us into the unknown wilderness.

As a people, we have always been a mixed multitude, and internally, each of us here, at this seder tonight, is a mixed multitude of sorts.

Moses himself embodied incredible internal diversity. He was educated by royal Egyptians, taken in as a homeless wanderer by polytheistic Midianites, and ultimately embraced by the Hebrews he led into freedom. With his Egyptian adoptive mother and his Midianite wife and father-in-law, Moses’s life was shaped by the teachings and love of different civilizations.

All of us here tonight, whether we are Jewish or of a different identity, or of a complex identity of many influences—all of us have blessings to offer the Jewish people in its ongoing mission to bring the justice and freedom that Passover demands to every part of the world where oppression and inhumanity still prevail.

In our lives we have all been wanderers of one sort or another; we have all felt the pain of being the stranger; and we have all sought to escape bad situations and find liberation of one kind or another. Tonight we ask God to bless all of us, and especially to bless those among us who do not identify as Jews or solely as Jews, with the blessings of freedom and the courage to seek that same freedom for those who are still denied it. And we ask God to bless us all with the ability to see that together—as the mixed multitude we are today—we continue to weave the Jewish story that seeks liberation and dignity for all.

By Rabbi Maurice Harris of Interfaithfamily.com.

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As we watch with despair the news from Israel/Palestine, we invite you to join us for an event that will offer some hope. Join us on Thursday May 20th for a talk with Rabbi Haviva Ner-David about her debut novel, Hope Valley, which offers hope for a real and lasting peace in the region, through human connection. Author Amy Gottlieb will interview Haviva about the book. It promises to be an eye-opening and uplifting discussion. Register here.

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