Exodus, Again and Again

800px-Egypt’s_Desert_MountainsFor Passover, a new prayer for peace and endurance in the face of existential threat, set in the context of history. It’s a reminder of our bond with the land and the survival of our people through millennia of exile and persecution. It begins with an ambiguous line from Torah, also used in the Passover Haggadah – “arami oved avi,” translated as “my father was a wandering Aramean” – the use of which is discussed in the postscript, below.

Exodus, Again and Again
My father was a wandering Aramean,
My mother a wandering Jew,
Sent on a journey home,
On the journey to a promised land.

His children’s children were slaves,
And their children’s children refugees,
History set in the journey from slavery to freedom,
A march repeated throughout the ages.

The Temple fell, our nation dispersed,
And we did not forget.
It fell twice, and we did not forget.
We have risen,
Again and again,
To dream of Jerusalem,
To yearn for Zion,
To pray for redemption in our own land.

My mother was expelled,
My father was pursued,
My children hunted,
Generations lost
To fire and knife.

We are a tide of survival,
Surging and receding,
Returning to our people,
Returning to our G-d,
Returning, once again, to our land.

We are home.
Exiled no more.
In prayer and in repentance,
We are home.
In love and in joyous yearning,
We are home.
We are home to stay.

Rock of Jacob,
Let peace descend on Zion and Israel,
And let gladness fill our hearts,
For the sake of Torah,
For the sake of all of Your children,
For the sake of Your Holy Name.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: “Arami oved avi” (Deut. 26:5) is translated as “my father was a wandering Aramean.” Some Haggadahs assume a classic interpretation of the verse, rendering the Hebrew as “an Aramean destroyed my father.” Rashi accepts this reading, but Ibn Ezra strongly rejects it. Ibn Ezra says the verse refers to Jacob, who, when he was in Aram, was lost. Rashbam argues that the verse more appropriately applies to Abraham, who can correctly be identified as an Aramean. In the context of this prayer, interpreting the line as either Abraham or Jacob makes the most sense; however, the classic interpretation also works to ground a theme of existential threat and exile. Please check out my book of Passover readings, Haggadah Companion: Meditations and Readings.

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