Apr 23, 2017

Images: Reflecting on 13 Reasons Why (1:7)

Images: Reflecting on 13 Reasons Why (1:7)
(c) Menachem Creditor
Why Me? why you?

do we see?
can we see each other
can any one see any other?
what if we would?
What if we did?
Would we then,
finally, know the other's truths?
do we only see what we see?
not you, but my image of you...
is there, in the end,
such a thing
as truly knowing an other?
are we each
at best
each other's image,
images of each other,
glimpses of only the surface,

13 Reasons: A Jewish Mid-Series Reflection

Apr 15, 2017

Upon the Shabbat of Passover

Upon the Shabbat of Passover
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

How powerful the comparison between Shabbat and Pesach.

Regarding Shabbat, the culmination of Creation: Darkness and chaos ruled, sparking within God the desire for Light, a primal marker for hope and renewal, for the ability to distinguish between one moment and the next, one person and another. Perhaps we might even say that in the beginning there was Darkness, thank God.

But when it comes to the liberation story of Passover, the place of Darkness is different. The increasing Darkness over Egypt through the Exodus narrative, including but not limited to the locusts so manifold that the very rays of the sun are blocked, culminates in the penultimate plague, a form of Darkness that locked one immobilized in the confines of selfhood, unable to even see another person. In the end, there was only Darkness.

And so we find ourselves on the Shabbat of Pesach ritually immersed in between the Darkness that prompts Creation and the Darkness that threatens to isolate once again. Perhaps that is why we recite the Song of Songs on this day of sacred synergy, evoking an image of beloved partners catching glimpses of each other through light-filled latticework and darkness-infested alleyways.

Perhaps we remind ourselves in this way that the path forward demands that we, each and all, create bridges of light, hand in hand, to banish Darkness once and for all to the ash heaps of history.

Friends, we've had enough Darkness for many lifetimes. Let's do something sacred about that. Let's amplify the light within each other and build a world worthy of God's intentions.

#BuildOnLove #OlamChesed #Passover #Shabbat #darkness #light

Apr 9, 2017

Homegoing: A Mid-journey Mini-Reflection

Homegoing: A Mid-journey Mini-Reflection
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor

I find myself mid-air, weightless, en route to re-enacting my family's freedom journey. My children delighting in each other's silliness, sharing space and time. I'm finally reading a book that's been waiting for months. And I'm reading it because I am in control of my own choices, mostly in charge of my own time.

But most of all, my redemption song is one I must labor to remember through elaborate, rituals, annual and daily. I could forget my own oppression. Not really, but sort of.

And this is where the pain begins. This eloquent novelization by Yaa Gyasi African slavery (set in Ghana, where my soul was torn open by an encounter with modern slavery just a few years ago) is rife with painful detail, one of which hits me hardest in this moment of family pilgrimage:

What if I couldn't be sure I could see my own children, that strangers could legally tear them from me? What if my blessed childhood, an experience of privilege I can barely comprehend, weren't a stable grounding for my future? I certainly would never would have become the me I today recognize. And the profound gift of fatherhood would be a shattering loss I could never, and will never, choose to imagine.


All this is a real story that has defined America, has defined my entire life from a place of invisible and ongoing oppression. The New Jim Crow that finds a new accursed name in every generation, just as Jews will recite in the Hagaddah tomorrow night of the ongoing evil of antisemitism.

I can barely fathom my own story, let alone this one. But that is the work ahead:

We are called to be present, engaged, and active in God's unfinished world until every person is free. If that isn't a call we feel and labor to answer, we have no right to our own freedom songs.

May we be blessed to be part of the great work ahead. And may it be unnecessary one day soon, please God.

#BuildOnLove #OlamChesed #Passover #seder #haggadah #spirit #freedom #homegoing

Apr 5, 2017

Pesach Seder Supplements (2017/5777)

From Rabbi Creditor:
2017 News Stories:
Selected Seder Supplements from Other Jewish Organizations:

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