I studied this Pesach. Once with my teacher. Once with my rabbi.
One led me on a journey, a waking-dream-journey. I walked in the footsteps of my ancestors. I crossed the Red Sea. Behind me, in the waters, were the soot stained souls of selfishness, hatred, intolerance. They bobbed in the water, never losing the stains upon them. In front of me was my people. The people with whom I crossed the sea. Were they dancing, timbrel in hand, praising G-d for our escape? Were they joyous? No. That is not my story. That is not their story.
Instead, I cross the sea and find my people starved. Bare ribs protruding. Famished and hungry. Weak. I run from person to person. I touch their bones, and check their breathing. I am frantic and tears fall freely from my face. Who are these people? Has the Shoah and the Exodus met in this bizarre dream of mine? Who imagines such a thing? There is no joy. There is no celebrating. Survival is a messy business.
After I share, my teacher, she says to me: What did you think slaves looked like?
With the other, I listened. I listened and journeyed to a mystical place in the Haggadah. Deeper, into the mysteries, to the hidden places the rabbis hoped we would find. The difference between chametz and matzah. Doubling the differences, finding G-d. The up-and-down G-d and the side-by-side G-d. Then finding the inner-divine. This was not done in a vacuum; rather, we found these things in the energy of the rabbi, in his passion. Nothing zen about this class. The spinning class of the Haggadah. Mind and soul exercising for that common purpose of self-improvement. The seder is changed for me. What else am I missing? How do I find these hidden jewels? Who will teach and re-teach them to me?
When all the details of this start to fade (and with my brain, they already are), there is the formula that I know I will not forget. The path. The path to Belief. A equals R equals B; so B equals A. This equation was already in my soul. I simply did not have the expression for it. Now I do.
This Pesach I am dreaming my way to an adult understand of the Exodus, and I am spinning with high intensity inside the Haggadah, aware and awake.