Seder night led by Aharon David Gordon
From the Labour Archive
Passover has arrived – the first Seder Night for many of us in Israel. A.D. Gordon, who has been working with us on the farm for about three quarters of a year, promised to conduct a traditional Seder. The day before we took out of the members suitcases their best shirts, we ironed them in preparation for the festival and on the day of the Seder we took out the sheets, handkerchiefs, anything white found in the suitcases of the female members, we decorated the hall a bit, we covered the tables with the white sheets, we set the table according the rules of the tradition. We also lit candles and placed pillows for Gordon, the leader of the Seder, as they had done in our parents’ homes. The light of the candles and the sight of the laid festive table, gave the hall an atmosphere of festive tension and sadness.
The members started to convene in the hall. When the first member entered the hall the sight aroused strong yearnings, his face paled, and he went to a secluded corner with tears streaming from his eyes. And thus too the second and the third. For each of us the sight of the table reminded us of the home across the sea. The faces of the father and mother and the orphaned family members, his place at the table, their prayers and longing were being sent to him at that moment. In the hall the heart strings of each of them trembled. The members stood and sat silently in their corners. Gordon sat at the end of the table with his hand covering his face. Thus they sat for a long time without moving an inch. A deep silence all around.
It was late. Gordon felt that he had no strength to conduct the Seder, and said Let’s eat friends. We went straight to the meal.
During the meal Gordon was slowly inspired by the spirit of the Seder. He integrated verses and parts of the Haggadah. He talked about the value of Passover in general and the symbolism of Passover in our lives.
He talked about our lives, our suffering, our longing. What is the value of this suffering. What is the value of the longing. This suffering is unique to us, this suffering is a right. As a result of it we acquired our world. We cannot estimate at present the size of our acts and their designation.
He started to sing softly and everyone jointed in.
And thus the festival started.
We danced until the morning light. The members danced without stopping, with a mystical excitement. By dancing the members opened their closed up longings that were awakened on that same evening, longing for family, longing for redemption.