Identity Role Play Welcome: A Ten Commandments’ Tale

this is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of egypt. whoever is hungry, come eat with us! whoever is needy, come join our seder! this year we’re here; next year in the land of israel! this year we’re slaves; next year we will be free.


recently, fictitious identity stories have emerged; two assumed native american tribal affiliation. do individuals engaging in these activities having a longing to be part of a group that has a unique heritage? or, are they seeking the monetary gain and acknowledgement that comes with the affiliation? for those having a longing, the passover holiday offers a unique opportunity.

the passover seder- ritual meal- invites participants not only to be part of the tribe but to share in the experience. every year, we, like the children of israel, share a meal at a time of crisis. notions of slavery are experienced with the tasting of bitter and salty foods. notions of freedom are celebrated with participants reclining in comfort and singing songs of deliverance and praise. for a moment in time, we take on the identity of the slaves when they took in the passover meal.

arguably, the seder is the most important jewish holiday for this very reason. it is opined the seder with the haggadah emerged after the destruction of the second temple. this was perhaps the most existential moment in jewish history. without the temple, would a jewish identity survive? while death and destruction of their country was happening, there was the need to take a step back to an earlier time of greater concern- a people in bondage. if there could be redemption from slavery, anything is possible. perhaps, this is why, during the seder, that a door is opened for the prophet elijah to come visit.

in sum, for those compelled to have an out-of-their-identity moment, a seder may be the apt place to share a tribal moment.

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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