Passover / Pesach begins either in March or April, when the beauty of Springtime and the renewal of life blossoms before our eyes. This has inspired many Jewish people to write Passover poetry. Passover poetry / Pesach poetry consists of anything from a poetic description of the Passover / Pesach rituals performed, such as those for the festive meal(s) known as the Passover / Pesach Seder, to a poetic comparison of the Passover / Pesach festival with the magnificence of the Springtime season.
“Passover Suite” : Poems For Passover
by Ray Shankman
Why Is This Night Different?
Why is this night different
now that we are older
and our children are with us
each one of us crosses the same desert
helping the stragglers
lifting the forlorn and lost
helping life into life
helplessness into healing hope
we are here together
hearing each story as if it were our own
committed to keeping the story alive
the journey going
Dancing Into Freedom
Why is this night different
from all other nights?
Tonight we found Israel
in each other
and I danced with Deena
first daughter of Israel
giggling at our miracle
dancing leaps joyous
before the Lord
The wine was sweet
our eyes drank to eternity
every sip warmed our love
gave us life.
Even Elijah stayed for a dram
saying, “Your fare is simple, mere matzot and cheese
but that’s the way it used to be
when we truly wondered
in our freedom.”
Brothers and Sisters
let us order ourselves around this table
to negotiate new covenants;
let’s rewrite our tragedies;
let’s renew history;
let’s translate our enslavement into the freedom of this moment.
Together we endured suffering; now
let’s share a certain future:
past afflictions can be transformed
into renewed blessings;
let us break bread and sing praises to life;
let our Hallelujahs resonate deeply as a tikkun nefesh.
Heal my soul. O Lord heal others so I can be healed.
Let us sing on each cup of wine that zest for life
that brings us home to this table,
to the singing of this story,
our arms about one another
Dancing into freedom.
Source of the above Passover poems article: Canadian Jewish News, v.31(16) April 5, 2001, page B7. Re-printed with permission from The Canadian Jewish News.
by Brenda Spigelman Ajzenkopf
Why is this night unlike all others
Are questions the youngest must say
We recline, we pray, we ask the Almighty
Please deliver us from Egypt this day.
Bitters and herbs are ours to consume
To remember the Exodus then
We eat, we drink, we cross the waters
Are pursued by Pharaoh and his men.
The Haggadah reading commands that we tell
How our ancestors toil, how they cry
We plead, we bend, we climb with Moses
And receive the tablets at Mount Sinai.
Elijah is here my father sings out
All bear witness as he flies
We tremble, we hide, we wait as he nears
We peer down through his ancient eyes.
Source of the above Passover poem: The Canadian Jewish News, March 31, 1999, volume 29 (13), page B2. Re-printed with permission from The Canadian Jewish News.