Ten Drops of Wine

( – promoted by buhdydharma )


Turkana has a post up speaking to the many deficiencies of the soon-to-be-passed (or not) health insurance legislation.

In comments, a poster, GN1927 speaks to something that hit a chord of memory in me:

Blessings to your family

But with all due respect, can we please celebrate what’s on the table for two seconds; everyone knows that this legislation is a start, not a finish.

God bless your cousin and sending healing energy that way.

The memory was of Obama’s election and Proposition 8’s passing in California, all at the same time.

There were arguments then, and not just in the blogosphere.

The juxtaposition of seeing America take a step forward and one backward at the same time gave a harsh edge to the celebration of Barack Obama becoming our first Black President.

So I thought of something that might clarify the question of how to celebrate without losing your humanity in mindless exhiliration.

Passover is coming up, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the liberation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt.

It is a very bloody story.

At the end a whole army and a great ruler Pharoah are plunged drowning into the sea, even with their innocent horses.

Now the entire holiday of Passover is very much a celebration, one of liberation and a lot of other high lofty moral and spiritual meanings.

But there is one instruction, in the liturgy itself (the Haggadah, which is read by the whole family over the dinner table), which deals with the morality of celebrating when you’ve just killed a whole bunch of people, even if they ARE your enemies and are trying to kill you.

There’s lots of prayers over a glass of wine during the Seder (the liturgy I referred to above where everyone reads from the Haggadah).  Before one of those prayers, where you bless the wine and then drink it, you are supposed to remove ten drops of wine before you drink it.

It says the celebration cannot be complete without acknowleding with regret the ten plagues which were visited upon the Egyptians, frogs, gnats, all that, up to the killing of the firstborn.  So many tragedies also hit innocent people and other creatures, after all, in that event.  I believe today it’s called “collateral damage.”

The morality saying that if someone is suffering, no celebration can truly be complete.  At least that’s how I look at it.

I think that is as good an example of how to celebrate amid suffering as any.


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  1. … at orange.  Don’t think there’ll be any celebrating here, unless it’s about rossl’s experience at the demonstration today.

    • Heather on March 21, 2010 at 2:34 am

    the sillies are out in full force today.

    • TMC on March 21, 2010 at 2:37 am

     “Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.”

    I would post the original Hebrew and transliteration but this site won’t support it.

    • Heather on March 21, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Thanks to my mom. She left it up to me as she should have.

    So I pick it up in dribs and drabs, like now.

    I do like the stories.

  2. Who needs riches when you can fiddle

  3. …this is a great post for this day, our anniversary of Shock and Awe…and our ongoing wars…for no good reason.

    At least the Jews had a good reason from the abuse suffered under Pharoah.

    Even with good reason, however, a just respect for all life, requires we take the time to give pause and reflect and make offering.  

  4. the ‘a drink for my homies’ came from.  I like it.  I’ve been to passover feasts, but haven’t experienced what you described.  GN is trying to be a better person over there, and what with all the witch hunting (now of even MB and McJoan), she’s comparatively reasonable.    

  5. Commemoration of a dreadful epic in Jewish history seems a better word to me, although the rituals associated with Passover are definitely celebratory.  I like so much that you pointed out that instruction in the Haggadah.  To me, there is nothing to celebrate about killing, even in self-defense.

    Thanks again!

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