THE THOUGHTS OF ONE MAN
TRYING TO AWAKEN
WHILE HELPING OTHERS TO AWAKEN
BY ASKING THIS QUESTION:
"WHAT IS YOUR SOUL TRYING TO TELL YOU?"

01 September 2014

The Magic of Iceland

Having found a last-minute deal on airfare, which was simply too good to pass up, my husband Zafir and I headed off to Iceland, where we spent ten incredible days.

Upon arrival, I knew NOTHING about Iceland—other than Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan met there (in 1986) and most Icelanders refused to disavow the existence of elves. As it turned out, my learning process would begin the very next day, and I would go on to experience the magic of Iceland firsthand.

Temples of Light

19 August 2014—It was our second day in the capital of Reykjavik, and in the late afternoon, we visited Hallgrimskirkja or the Church of Hallgrimur, named after Hallgrimur Petursson (1614-1674), the Lutheran poet-priest who wrote the Passion Hymns, based on the gospel account of Jesus’ last days. This immense, concrete building—visible from a distance of 20 kilometers / 12 miles—was consecrated as a church in 1986. It is the plainest, starkest house of worship I’ve ever seen!

As I walked around the exterior, my inner eyes opened, and for a few minutes, I could see gigantic structures, which stood on the same spot as Hallgrimskirkja but in a different dimension. They appeared to be constructed of light and glistened pink and yellow.

A Spirit of the Land?

21 August 2014—We spent the day on Heimaey, off the South coast. The eruption of Eldfell (Mountain of Fire) in 1973 came close to extinguishing life on Heimaey, which is the largest and most populated of Iceland’s islands. Earlier in the day, we drove from sight to sight, and at one point, I found myself attracted to a piece of volcanic rock—9 by 12 inches with dramatic swirls in it—which I picked up and put into the back of the rental car.

That night, immediately after closing my eyes, a very clear picture of what appeared to be a man flashed before me, which scared me. His gray eyes were fierce and menacing, and above his eyebrows, a ridge protruded from his forehead. I felt that a larger than life spirit, a spirit of the land, if you will, had bled into my world.

Suddenly Clairaudient

24 August 2014—We visited the Public Park and Botanic Garden in Akureyri, the nation’s second largest city, in the North, where we were wowed by arctic flowers. Around 8:00 PM, we resumed traveling on Route 1, known as the Ring Road. Sunlit clouds encircled the mountains ahead. I recall a snow-capped peak in the distance, a mountain to the left, and a shorter one to the right.

We were 20 kilometers / 12 miles outside of Akureyri when my inner eyes opened, and I saw the shorter mountain erupt, shooting bright orange lava far into the air. I said to Zafir, “Do you see that mountain? It’s going to erupt in our lifetime!” (Though I’m not certain, the “snow-capped peak in the distance” may have been Dyafjallshnjukur (1,225 meters / 4,018 feet), the “mountain to the left” Kirkjufjall (1,150 meters / 3,772 feet), and the “shorter one to the right” Dyngjahnjukur (929 meters / 3,047 feet), which I had seen erupt.

I went on to say, “We must have crossed some sort of line. The vibration is very high here. My inner eyes are completely open. Ask questions.”

At my insistence, Zafir peppered me with questions. The answers were being poured into me. Never before had I been so clairaudient. Here is a portion of that exchange.

Is the dollar going to collapse?

Yes.

When?

2017. It [the U.S.] is not the place to be when it collapses. Get out before then. He [Zafir] will know when to go. He [Zafir] has good instincts. He [Zafir] will know where to go.

Will the Euro collapse?

Yes. But it’s not going to fall flat on its face. They are focusing my attention on the word Deutsch. After the dollar collapses, Germany will withdraw [from the Eurozone] so it can more effectively assert itself economically on the world stage. It will re-issue the Deutsche Mark.

Should we buy gold?

No. Buy silver.

Will New Orleans be flooded?

No.

Will New York be flooded?

Yes. But the flooding will not be as extensive as many people fear. Battery Park won’t exist.

When will this happen?

2035, 2053.

Should we buy property?

Yes.

Where?

Venezuela, the Southeast coast of Venezuela. It will be a prosperous and stable country in the future. The house will be high on a bluff or hill.

(As you may know, Venezuela does not have a Southeast coast. My words would have been more precise if I had known more about the geography of Venezuela; the Embalse de Guri, the Isla de Margarita, and the Lago de Maracaibo—all in Venezuela—each has a Southeast coast. My words would have been even more imprecise if I hadn’t known of Venezuela or South America. Because truth is channeled through knowledge, I have long referred to National Geographic as a medium’s best friend. “The more you know, the better it can flow.”)  

Making Friends

25 August 2014—It was overcast and drizzling, and earlier than usual we began searching for a room. We found one in Olafsvik, in the vicinity of the mythical glacier- Snaefellsjokull, which is located in the West of the country. Interestingly, in Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1828-1905), the would-be explorers enter the planet’s interior through Mount Snaefell, on the Southwest edge of Snaefellsjokull.

After we unpacked, we headed to nearby Rif, in hope of finding a coffee shop. We were in luck: Kaffi Sif was still open. A woman by the name of Sif Svavarsdottir served us some much-needed tea and vegetable soup, and then, to our good fortune, spent time talking to us.

Sif, who struck the psychotherapist in me as very grounded, explained to us that she moved to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula because she feels “at home” there. Many people, she said, believe that powerful ley lines run through the peninsula, through Snaefellsjokull in particular, which some consider to be the heart chakra of the world.

While Zafir was present, I told Sif of seeing the mysterious being with the ridge protruding from his forehead and becoming uncharacteristically clairaudient while on the outskirts of Akureyri. Sensing that she was in safe company, Sif told us that living in the area had opened her up as well. She went on to share that she converses telepathically with both angels and elves.

I was overjoyed to be having a conversation with an Icelander about elves, as I recalled lonely planet’s admonition:

“Many Icelanders get sick of visitors asking them whether they believe in supernatural beings. Their pride bristles at the ‘Those cute Icelanders! They all believe in pixies’ attitude…and even if they don’t entirely disbelieve, they’re unlikely to admit it to a stranger.” 4

Elves from My Past

Sif explained that elves, like angels, are vibrating on a faster or higher level, which explains why people remain unaware of them most of the time. Of elves, she said, “I hear them, but I have never seen them.”

At that moment, I blurted out, “I have seen them!” Sif and Zafir looked at me in amazement.

I told them that one summer or autumn afternoon in 1990, while riding the Chicago L, I closed my eyes to nap. While my eyes were closed, otherworldly beings flashed before me, which I described in writing. I explained that I never saw these beings before or since, and at the time, I hadn’t read or seen anything even remotely related to them. Until now, I had treated their appearance as an inexplicable, isolated incident.

The place soon filled with other customers, and Sif had to slip away. As she did, she recommended the book The Magic of Snaefellsjokull: Legends, Folklore, and Mystique by Runa Gudrun Bergmann, which was available for sale at the café.

Of elves or “hidden people,” Bergmann writes:

“They are approximately the same size as humans, but vibrating on a much higher frequency, so they seem slightly transparent as their energy is so lucid. Old folklore accounts that describe human encounter with the hidden people describe men for example being lured to them because of the light. I always say that filmmaker / director Peter Jackson did a good job portraying them in the Lord of the Rings movies, because he made them slightly transparent, as they are.” 1

When Zafir and I returned to New York, I succeeded in locating the file folder Spiritual Writing in which I found this account of my own encounter with elves:

I saw them sometime ago, weeks ago, I wanted to say a long time ago, long ago. There was a family of them. The father’s eyes were particularly large; they were round, visibly oval.  They were a beautiful blue shade of powder blue. Along the edge you could see speck[s] of a deep, burnt blue blue. Here and there, there were little speck[s] of white light—like pinpoints. There were children with him—maybe a woman too. They looked right at me as if they knew me. They seemed rather sad. As I looked into their eyes, I knew that we had me[t] before. I want to compare their ever, ever, ever so wonderfully gentle nature to a family of deer, but they they made me feel that they didn’t like being compared to a fury-faced, dark eyes [dark-eyed], blood-filled animal of earth. Their bodies are completely filled with light.

(My writing “they didn’t like being compared” to an “animal of earth” suggests that they communicated telepathically with me. I wrote the account—in blue ink—on some sort of library slip. If one looks closely at the reverse side, one notices DATE DUE in black ink and NO 10 ’90, that is, November 10, 1990, in green ink.)

The Elf Rock

26 August 2014—We decided to spend the day driving around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, which juts out from the country’s West coast, and relied on Bergmann’s The Magic of Snaefellsjokull to guide us to the more supernatural sites.

On the South coast of the peninsula, near the town of Hellnar, we visited Londrangar, which are two natural rock columns at the edge of Faxa Bay. They are volcanic plugs, that is, basalt that filled in the crater of the volcano, which eroded away long ago. The larger column is 75 meters / 246 feet high and the smaller 61 meters / 200 feet.

Of Londrangar, Bergmann writes:

The old belief was that they were elf dwellings, so no farmer made hay around them. Erla Stefansdottir [Icelandic seer and elf expert] calls the eastern one (75 m high) the church of the hidden people and the western one (61 m high) the library.

The western one may not contain books, but is as I intuitively understand it a transmission center, where wise beings transmit energy to anyone open to receive it. The message they give me is that they are activating certain centers in our brains to prepare us for the challenging tasks that the future holds. 2

Upon arriving at Londrangar, we parked the car and set out on foot for the columns. A few minutes later, recalling what Bergmann had said about the “Library”—the shorter column—I decided to go back to the car to retrieve the volcanic rock I had brought from Heimaey. Zafir was more than perplexed, and I explained to him that I planned to rest the rock in the perfect crevice or niche (in the Library) and then hope for a download or transmission of information.

I climbed around the first column and then the second. At the base of the latter—at the edge of the sea—a partial cave shielded a shallow pool of water. In the cave wall, there was the perfect niche.

Getting there wasn’t easy. I had to walk down a slippery, grass-covered slope and over even more slippery boulders, covered with rockweed.

When I finally reached the pool, the tide was starting to come in, which meant that I didn’t have much time. I held the rock in place and prayed, “Help me to communicate with elves and others beings and transmit to this rock everything I need to know.” A few minutes later, rock, that is, book, in hand, I beat a hasty retreat back to the car.

Afterward, I discovered that I had temporarily deposited the rock in the Church of the Hidden People not the Library. Nevertheless, the rock, The Elf Rock, rests securely in the study of our home in Brooklyn.

Another Miracle at Mary’s Spring

Our next destination was Hellnar, from where we hiked to the town of Arnarstapi. We passed through Draugalag or Oddnyjargjota (Oddny’s Hollow), where centuries ago a priest by the name of Latin Bjarni “exorcised” Oddny Pila, a young woman who had back from the dead and then went on rampage injuring people and killing livestock. On the way there, we passed by Einbui (The Hermit), a rock formation long believed to be the dwelling place of elves.

We were also on the lookout for Mary’s Spring, where the Virgin Mary appeared to Bishop Gudmundor The Good in 1230 CE. According to Bergmann, healings and miracles continue to take place at the spring where locals placed a marble statue of the Virgin in 1989. 3

Knowing the sun would soon be setting, Zafir suggested that we return to Hellnar (from Arnarstapi) via the paved road instead of the hiking path. At some point, however, he realized that this road was going to take us out of our way. Seeing Hellnar in the distance, he then suggested that we cut through the meadow between us and the town. The grass and moss were wet, and we got soaked up to our kneecaps.

As we approached Hellnar, I said, “I don’t want to miss the spring, so let’s ask the locals how to get there.” Minutes later, I looked up and saw the little marble statue. The fact that we were right next to the spring amazed both of us. I touched my third eye chakra with water from the spring and prayed for purity. 

The Face of Egil

27 August 2014—On our way back to Reykjavik, we made an unplanned stop at Borgarnes, on the West coast, where we visited The Settlement Center. At the center, we went to two exhibitions.

According to the museum brochure, The Settlement Exhibition tells the story of “the first men to set foot on the island and how the land was settled up to the establishment of the first parliament in the world, the Althing” and The Egils Saga Exhibition tells of “Egil…a larger than life hero, an intriguing combination of violent Viking and sensitive poet.”

In this exhibition, we learned of Egil Skallagrimsson, the central character of Egil’s Saga or Elga. His grandfather, Kveldulfr—a shape-shifter—and his father, Skalla-Grimr, fleeing Harald Fairhair of Norway, settled in Iceland, where Skalla-Grimr became a blacksmith and farmer and the father of two sons, Thorolf and Egil. According to Elga, Egil composed his first poem at three and committed his first murder at seven. He was known to go berserk and to practice magic using runes (the characters of runic alphabets).

As we exited The Egils Saga Exhibition, we came face to face with a deformed skull, which had a ridge protruding from the forehead. The audio guide suggested that Egil’s skull, if it is found one day, might resemble this one.

According to Elga, Skapti Thorarinsson, a Christian descendant of Egil, exhumed Egil’s remains from one church so he could re-inter them at another:

He [Skapti] picked up Egil's skull and placed it on the fence of the churchyard. The skull was an exceptionally large one and its weight was even more remarkable. It was ridged all over like a scallop shell, and Skapti wanted to find out just how thick it was, so he picked up a heavy axe, swung it in one hand and struck as hard as he was able with the reverse side of the axe, trying to break the skull. But the skull neither broke nor dented on impact, it simply turned white, and from that anybody could guess that the skull wouldn’t be easily cracked by small fry while it still had skin and flesh on it. 5

According to Jesse L. Byock, who authored the article “Egil’s Bones” for Scientific American, this description of Egil’s skull suggests that Egil suffered from Paget’s Disease. 6 This chronic condition results in abnormal “bone remodeling,” that is, irregular bone growth. Byock argues that Egil’s going blind, feeling cold in his feet, and losing his balance, all of which are mentioned in Elga, are symptoms of advanced Paget’s Disease. 7

Future Conversations

Wow! I couldn’t believe it! In fact, I still can’t believe it! I saw the face of Egil, Egil Skallagrimsson! Why? I do not know.

What I do know is that the elves, which I first saw in 1990, are with me now, and they are eager to share their knowledge. With a fair amount of trepidation, I am willing to continue the process that they set in motion so many years ago. What I also know is that I will be returning to the Land of Fire and Ice in the very near future!


1 Runa Gudrun Bergmann, The Magic of Snaefellsjokull: Legends, Folklore, and Mystique (Iceland: Isis-Iceland Publishing, 2014), 73.

2 Bergmann, 55.

3 Bergmann, 63.

4 Brandon Presser, Carolyn Bain, and Fran Parnell, lonely planet Iceland (China: Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd, 2013): 324.

5 Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards, trans., Egil’s Saga (New York: Penguin Classics, 1976), 10.

6 Jesse L. Byock, “Egil’s Bones,” Scientific American 272 # 1 (January 1995): 84.

7 Jesse L. Byock, “Egil’s Bones,” Scientific American 272 # 1 (January 1995): 85.

14 July 2014

One Way? No Way!

Most Christians insist that the Divine, in Jesus, walked the face of the earth for the first and last time (barring his Second Coming). As a result, countless people find themselves oblivious to other avenues of Divine manifestation--both ancient and current--or reluctant to explore those avenues, preferring the pains of spiritual poverty to charges of spiritual deviancy.

This claim, which continues to have a dangerous, dark, and perverse effect on our collective consciousness, arose, in part, from Jesus’ own words:

“‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6, RSV)

To understand this statement, we must look at what Jesus said earlier:

“‘In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?’” (John 14:2, RSV)

I hear Jesus saying, “I know my Father’s house. It’s a big house with a lot of rooms, and I got one ready for you. I know how to get in, you don’t. So, listen up! If you want to get inside, you have to stick close to me. Just do what I do.”

Let’s liken Jesus to a forest guide, and the meaning of his words will become even clearer. If you’re trying to reach a particular open space within a forest, do you continue on without a guide, do you follow a guide who’s knowledgeable about another open space, or do you follow the guide in front of you who knows the way to your chosen destination?

May Jesus the Guide and those who follow him be blessed. May all Guides be blessed. May all those who have undertaken the journey home be blessed.

10 April 2014

The Song of Songs Seder: A Night of Sacred Sexuality


Many fault lines cut through the human family. The Sex-Is-Holy  - Sex-Is-Dirty divide, which inflicts untold suffering on millions, is one of the widest and oldest. We find evidence of this divide in every faith tradition, including Judaism, where we encounter it numerous times in the Talmud, in reference to the Song of Songs, for example. This work, which revolves around the play of two Lovers, is by far the most erotic book in the Bible.

According to the Talmud, the Song of Songs was set aside to be buried because of its sensual content (Avot De-Rabbi Nathan 1:4). These verses were singled out as particularly offensive:

I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. Come, my beloved, let us go into the open; let us lodge among the henna shrubs. Let us go early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine has flowered, if its blossoms have opened, if the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give my love to you.” (Song of Songs 7:11-13)

At length, the rabbis debated whether to include the Song of Songs in the Bible. In their deliberations, they used the curious phrase “renders unclean the hands.” Holy books, in their view, were essentially “too hot to handle” on account of their intrinsic holiness. Handling them, then, renders unclean the hands, that is, makes one more or less untouchable, until specific rituals of purification are carried out.

Rabbi Judah says: The Song of Songs renders unclean the hands, but there is a dispute about Ecclesiastes. Rabbi Jose says: Ecclesiastes does not render unclean the hands, but there is a dispute about the Song of Songs....Rabbi Simeon ben Azzai said: I received a tradition from the seventy-two elders...that the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes render unclean the hands. Rabbi Akiba said: Far be it! No man in Israel disputed about the Song of Songs [by saying] that it does not render unclean the hands. For the whole world is not as worthy as the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel; for all the writings are holy but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies. (Babyloninan Talmud, Yadayim 73a).

Thank the Divine,  the Source of Love, for the intervention of Akiva!

Including the Song of Songs in the sacred canon of scripture came with a price, however: It was allegorized, that is, interpreted as a love affair between the Lord and the community of Israel, and in the process it was de-sexualized. For example, in the eyes of Rashi, the breasts of the female lover were two staves of the ark, Moses and Aaron, the Tablets (Ten Commandments), the king and the high priest, or synagogues and study halls, anything but breasts.

Throughout the centuries, Jewish mystics—subscribing to the dictum “as above, so below”—clung to another, perhaps more ancient understanding of the Song of Songs. The mysterious kabbalist Joseph of Hamadan, a contemporary of Moses de Leon, who composed / redacted the Zohar—the central work of Kabbalah—regarded the male and female characters in the Song of Songs as the masculine and feminine faces of divinity, as the heavenly Bridegroom and Bride, which reflect their earthly counterparts.

In his Sefer Tashak, Hamadan writes of the Bride, whom he refers to as the Matrona (the Great Married Mother):

“King Solomon, may peace be upon him, said in his wisdom, ‘I am a wall, my breasts are like towers’ (Song of Songs 8:10), this alludes to the breasts of the Matrona that are like towers, and from these holy apples of the Matrona the righteous in the Garden of Eden and the holy angels are nourished….From these breasts of the Matrona the upper and lower beings are sustained, and the holy angels and souls of the righteous draw forth from there honey and milk. Thus it is written, ‘Honey and milk are under your tongue’ (Song of Songs 4:11).”

In recent years, efforts to recover the erotic dimension of the Song of Songs have gained steam. In the Fever of Love: An Illumination of the Song of Songs by Rabbi Shefa Gold is one noteworthy example.

At long last, it seems, the sensuality of this work can explode unhampered by commentary that ignores the obvious, the delightfully obvious.

“As an apple-tree among trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my mouth” (Song of Songs 2:3).

“Awake, O north wind, come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, that its perfume may spread. Let my beloved come to his garden and enjoy its luscious fruits” (Song of Songs 4:16).

“‘Let me in, my own, my darling, my faultless dove! For my head is drenched with dew, my locks with the damp of night’” (Song of Songs 5:2).

“I have come to my garden, my own, my bride; I have plucked my myrrh and spice, eaten my honey and honeycomb, drunk my wine and my milk” (Song of Songs 5:1).

As in the days of Solomon and the Shulamite, that is, the Lovers in the Song of Songs, human beings are fascinated by sex. One recent study estimates that thirty percent of all global web traffic is pornographic.

Unfortunately, faith traditions have not kept up, that is, kept it up. The religious establishment has been preoccupied with severing us at the waist and brainwashing us into believing that sex and sexuality are confined to Earth not reflected in Heaven.

In response to this reality, the Song of Songs Seder  humbly emerges.

The seder—intended for the eve of the Intermediate Sabbath of Passover when Jews chant or recite the Song of Songs—takes place around the dinner table as do the First- and Second-Night Seders. Participants enter the ethereal Garden for the Wedding Feast of the Heavenly Bridegroom and Bride.

The Song of Songs Seder, which unfolds according to its own fourteen-step Haggadah—Kaddesh, Urechatz, Karpas, Yachatz, etc.—includes variations on familiar components. Four cups of milk and honey replace the four cups of wine, the Love Story (the Song of Songs) swaps places with the Exodus Story, Four Wedding Guests stand in for the Four Sons, and the King’s Cup (for King Solomon) and the Queen’s Cup (for the Queen of Sheba) take the place of Elijah’s and Miriam’s Cups.

These excerpts from the Song of Songs Seder should provide a taste of its flavor.

The host of the Wedding Banquet introduces the seder plate:

The Song of Songs Seder Plate, like every seder plate, contains six foods, one for each point of the Sacred Hexagram. This shape, known since antiquity as the Seal of Solomon, is imbued with Love. First and foremost, it symbolizes the seamless unity of Divinity, indeed, of all things. The upward-pointing triangle represents the Divine Masculine and the downward-pointing triangle the Divine Feminine. HE and SHE are ecstatic Oneness, filling all creation and flowing into and through every human relationship, opposite- and same-gendered. 

Keeping one foot in the Garden, guests step into the Egypt of Sexual Oppression and come face to face with the Ten Plagues Inflicted on Sacred Sexuality:


The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn (Sexual Violence)
Countless fathers and mothers cry out in pain over the Death of the Firstborn, that is, the deaths of their children, who were victims of sexual violence. Rape, hate crimes based on gender identity and sexual orientation, and state-sponsored sexual terrorism are forms of sexual violence. Homosexual sex (between consenting adults) punishable by death is an example of state-sponsored sexual terrorism. (Homosexuality is a capital crime in nine countries: Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudia Arabia, Somaliland, Sudan, and Yemen.) 

After eating the famous Hillel Sandwich, wedding guests prepare the Selfless Love Sandwich consisting of charoset and pomegrante seeds.

Charoset symbolizes love! “‘Refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love’” (Song of Songs 2:5). The key ingredients for charoset—though there are literally countless recipes—are all mentioned in the Song of Songs: apples, cinnamon, figs, raisins, and walnuts. Charoset is Love Paste. It cements and in some cases re-cements us to the Divine--who dwells within the human heart--and to one another. 

The Song of Songs Seder is intended to bring healing to Sacred Sexuality in the upper and lower worlds, thereby filling in the age-old Sex-Is-Holy - Sex-Is-Dirty divide. It offers each of us an opportunity to embrace the radiant, sweet-smelling Oneness, which manifests from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet. In addition, the seder lends itself to creating a much needed sacred context in which to celebrate, discuss, and explore human sexuality.

May those who are hungry for love be fed! May they, in turn, proclaim Next Year in the Garden!


_________________


Martin Sicker An Introduction to Judaic Thought and Rabbinic Literature (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007), 10-13.

J. Zwelling (translator), Joseph Hamadan’s Sefer Tashak: Critical Text Edition with Introduction (J. Zwelling, 1975), 323.


Rabbi Robert Teixeira, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and the founder and spiritual director of Uri! Uri!, an emerging chavurah in Brooklyn. To learn more about his work, visit StayBlessedAndBeWell.com.


  
The Song of Songs Seder

Leader: Passover or PE-SACH is one of three pilgrimage festivals in Judaism. Every year at this time, our ancestors undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem where they celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In other words, they made a spiritual journey. Every PESACH, we also undertake a pilgrimage.

All: We make our way to dusty, hot, oppressive Egypt, to MEETZ-RA-YEEM, which means narrow place. There we join our fathers and mothers as slaves to pharaoh.

We experience what they experienced, we witness what they witnessed. We behold the Divine breaking into history, raising up Moses (MO-SHE) and Aaron (A-HA-RON), unleashing plagues, and splitting the Sea of Reeds so at long last we can walk from “bondage into freedom, from sorrow into joy, from mourning into festivity, from darkness into great light, and from servitude into redemption” (Babylonian Talmud, P-SA-CHEEM 116b).

Leader: As Rabban Gamliel (RA-BAN  GAM-LEE-AYL) (early First Century C.E.), grandson of Hillel (HEE-LAYL), reminds us, “In every generation, a man or woman is bound to regard himself or herself as though he or she personally had gone forth from Egypt”(Babylonian Talmud, PSACHEEM 116b).

All: By so doing, we come face to face with the reality of our own Egypt and pharaoh.

Leader: On this Shabbat, the Intermediate Shabbat of Passover (SHA-BAT CHOL HA-MO-ED PE-SACH), our tradition invites us to undertake a very special spiritual journey. We make our way to a lush, green Garden filled with fruit trees and vines where the air is thick with love.

All: We are invited to enter a Love Story, which tells love stories. We are invited to the Wedding Feast of wedding feasts. We are invited to enter the Song of Songs (SHEER HA SHEE-REEM).

Rabbi Akiva (A-CEE-VA) said, “For the whole world is not as worthy as the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel; for all the writings are holy but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies” (Babylonian Talmud, YA-DA-YEEM 73a).

All: The Song of Songs Seder Plate, like every seder plate, contains six foods, one for each point of the Sacred Hexagram.

Leader: This shape, known since antiquity as the Seal of Solomon, is imbued with Love. First and foremost, it symbolizes the seamless unity of Divinity, indeed, of all things. The upward-pointing triangle represents the Divine Masculine and the downward-pointing triangle the Divine Feminine. The two appear as Lovers in the Song of Songs, which, according to tradition, was written by Solomon (SH-LO-MO). He and She are ecstatic Oneness, filling all creation and flowing into and through every human relationship, opposite- and same-gendered.

  
The Foods on the Seder Plate

Arrangement of Foods on the Seder Plate: Imagine a hexagram on the plate. Regarding the upward-pointing triangle, place ZROA at the top-most point, place MAROR at the right-most point, and place CHAROSET at the left-most point. Regarding the downward-pointing triangle, place BAYTZA (two boiled eggs) at the bottom-most point, place CHAZARET at the right-most point, and place CARPAS at the left-most point. And place REEMON (pomegranate seeds) in the middle of the hexagram.

 All: Every Seder Plate contains six foods, one for each point of the Sacred Hexagram.

Leader: This shape, known since antiquity as the Seal of Solomon, is imbued with Love. First and foremost, it symbolizes the seamless unity of Divinity, indeed, of all things. The upward-pointing triangle represents the Divine Masculine and the downward-pointing triangle the Divine Feminine. The two appear as Lovers in the Song of Songs, which, according to tradition, was written by Solomon (SHLOMO). He and She are ecstatic Oneness, filling all creation and flowing into and through every human relationship, opposite- and same-gendered.

Take turns introducing the foods. Fuller explanations of the foods can be found within the body of the seder.

Three MA-TZOT
Not two but three MATZOT are brought to the table for PESACH. The top MA-TZA represents our Divinity, the bottom MATZA our Humanity, and the middle MATZA the integration of the two, which is the primary goal of every spiritual practice.

CAR-PAS (Green Vegetable)
CARPAS symbolizes the green, life-filled Garden, the natural world, where Lovers play.

ME-LACH  HA  MY-YEEM  (Bowl of Salt Water)
Salt water represents tears.

MA-ROR (Bitter Herb)
MA-ROR symbolizes unrequited love and one’s inability to embrace sexuality.

CHA-ZA-RET (Bitter Herb)
CHA-ZA-RET symbolizes the fragility and fleeting nature of love.

CHA-RO-SET (Fruit-nut Chutney)
CHAROSET symbolizes love!

REE-MON (Pomegranate)
The pomegranate, mentioned more than any other fruit in the Song of Songs,
symbolizes fertility and conjugal love par excellence!

Z-RO-A (Shank Bone)
The shank bone symbolizes the Divine Masculine, in particular, the Cosmic Phallus or Lingam, the upward-pointing triangle of the hexagram. Roasted beet can be used in place of roasted shank bone (Babylonian Talmud, PSACHEEM 114b).

BAY-TZA (Egg)
The egg symbolizes the Divine Feminine, in particular, the Cosmic Vulva or Yoni, the downward-pointing triangle of the hexagram. Boiled rice can be used in place of boiled egg (Babylonian Talmud, PSACHEEM 114b). Place two boiled eggs—which are typically roasted after they’ve been boiled—or two dollops of boiled rice on the Seder Plate.

Kindling the Lights

All: “Awake, O north wind, come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden, that its perfume may spread. Let my beloved come to his garden and enjoy its luscious fruits!” (Song of Songs 4:16).

Leader: Let us kindle the Lights of Shabbat.

All: BA-RUCH    A-TA   
   E-LO-HAY-NU    RU-ACH    HA-O-LAM,   A-SHER  CEE-D-SHANU B-MEETZ-VO-TAV,   V-TZEE-VA-NU   L-HAD-LEEC   NAYR   SHEL  SHA-BAT.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Breath of All, Who sanctifies us with commandments and commands us to kindle the lights of the Sabbath.

Leader: Let us gives thanks for this moment:
  
All: BA-RUCH    A-TA   YAH   E-LO-HAY-NU    RU-ACH    HA-O-LAM,  SHE-HE-CHE-YA-NU V-CEE-Y-MA-NU    V-HEE-GEE-A-NU   LA-Z-MAN   HA-ZE.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Breath of All, Who has kept us alive and has sustained us and has brought us to this season.
  
The Steps of the Seder

Before taking a Step of the Seder, call out its name. After taking that step, call out the name of every preceding step and then call out the name of the step just taken. Example: Let’s say you’re about to take Step 6: RACHTZA:  Wash hands before feast. Before you take this step, call out RACHTZA. After taking it, call out Steps 1-5 (CADAYSH, URCHATZ, CARPAS, YACHATZ, MAGEED) and then call out Step 6 (RACHTZA), which you just took.                                         
           
All: Let us take these steps to enter the Garden.

CA-DAYSH: The Kiss and the Anointing. Recite blessing over milk and honey. Make Kiddush (CEE-DUSH). Drink the First Cup of milk and honey.

UR-CHATZ: Wash hands before eating green vegetable. No blessing is recited.

CAR-PAS: Eat green vegetable (parsley) dipped in salt water.

YA-CHATZ: Break middle MATZA and hide larger half (A-FEE-CO-MAN).

MA-GEED: Recite Song of Songs.

RACH-TZA: Wash hands before feast.

MO-TZEE  MA-TZA: Say blessings over bread and MA-TZA.

MA-ROR: Recite blessing for eating bitter herb.

CO-RAYCH: Eat MATZA and bitter herb. Eat MATZA and CHAROSET and REEMON .

SHUL-CHAN O-RAYCH: Serve the Wedding Feast.

TZA-FUN: Eat the AFEECOMAN.

BA-RAYCH: Give thanks / say grace.

HA-LAYL: Recite Psalms of Praise (HA-LAYL).

NEER-TZA: Conclude the Seder.


  
1
CADAYSH
The Kiss and the Anointing
Recite the blessing over milk and honey.
Make CEEDUSH.
Drink the First Cup of milk and honey.

All: “Let me be a seal upon your heart, like the seal upon your hand” (Song of Songs 8:6)

Your ointments yield a sweet fragrance, Your name is like finest oil” (Song of Songs 1:3)

All: Let us sanctify one another.

Participants kiss one another on the right hand. They then trace the Seal of Solomon over one another’s heart, tracing the upward-pointing triangle clockwise (beginning with the top-most point) and the downward-pointing triangle counterclockwise (beginning with the bottom-most point). Lastly, using (scented) olive oil, they trace the Four-Letter Name (from right to left YOD, HAY, VAV, HAY) on one another’s forehead.


The Four Cups

All: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3).

Leader: The Four Cups of the Seder reflect the Four-Letter Name of the Divine—spelled from right to left: YOD, HAY, VAV, HAY—and the Four Letters reflect the Two Lovers in the Garden. Spelling the Name backwards—HAY, VAV, HAY, YOD—reveals the essence of the Hebrew words for He (HAY VAV) and She (HAY YOD). The Name, then, means He-She. And the Oneness of He-She pervades the Garden.

The Divine said, “‘I will take you out of the misery of Egypt…to a land flowing with milk and honey’” (Exodus / SHMOT: 3:7).

Kiddush

Leader / All: [Evening became morning]: The sixth day. And the heavens and the earth and all that filled them were complete. And on the seventh day Yah completed the labor Yah had performed, and Yah refrained on the seventh day from all the labor which Yah had performed. And Yah  blessed the seventh day and Yah sanctified it, for Yah then refrained from all Yah’s labor - from the act of creation that Yah had performed.

All: BA-RUCH  A-TA  YAH,  E-LO-HAY-NU  RU-ACH  HA-O-LAM SHE-HA-COL NEE-YA BEED-VA-RO.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Source of All, at whose word all things come into existence.

Leader / All:  BA-RUCH  A-TA  YAH  E-LO-HAY-NU  RU-ACH  HA-O-LAM,  A-SHER  CEE-D-SHA-NU  B-MEETZ-VO-TAV  V-RA-TZ-A  VA-NU,  V-SHA-BAT  COD-SHO  B-A-HA-VA  UV-RA-TZON  HEEN-CHEE-LANU,  ZEE-CA-RON  L-MA-A-SAY  V-RAY-SHEET.  CEE  HU YOM  T-CHEE-LA  L-MEEC-RA-AY  CO-DESH,  ZAY-CHER  LEE-TZEE-AT  MEETZ-RA-YEEM.  CEE  VAN-U  VA-CHAR-TA,  V-O-TANU  CEE-DASH-TA,  MEE-COL  HA-A-MEEM.  V-SHA-BAT  COD-SH-CHAH  B-A-HA-VA  UV-RA-TZON  HEEN-CHAL-TANU. BA-RUCH  A-TA  YAH,   M-CA-DAYSH  HA-SHA-BAT.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Source of All, Who sanctified us with commandments, and hoped for us, and with love and intent invested us with Yah’s sacred Sabbath, as a memorial to the deed of Creation. It is the first among the holy festivals, commemorating the exodus from Egypt. For You chose us, and sanctified us, out of all nations, and with love and intent You invested us with Your Holy Sabbath. Blessed are You, Sanctifier of the Sabbath.

The First Cup

All: We call the First Cup HAY. Drink the First Cup of milk and honey.


E-RETZ  ZA-VAT CHA-LAV 
(A Land of Milk and Honey) 1

E-RETZ   ZA-VAT  CHA-LAV,  CHA-LAV  U-D-VASH    (x4-8)
(A land flowing with milk and honey)


E-E-RETZ   ZA-VAT  CHA-LAV,  ZA-A-VAT  CHA-LAV  U-D-VASH   (x2)
(A land flowing with milk and honey)


Reader: On the very day King Solomon completed the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, God and His bride were united, and her face shone with perfect joy. Then there was joy for all, above and below.

As long as the Temple stood, it served as the sacred bedchamber of God the King and His Bride, the Shekhinah. Every midnight She would enter through the Holy of Holies, and She and God would celebrate their joyous union. The loving embrace of the King and Queen assured the well-being not only of Israel, but also of the whole world.

The King would come to the Queen and lie in Her arms, and all that She asked of Him he would fulfill. He placed his left arm under her head, His right arm embraced Her, and He let Her enjoy His strength. Their pleasure in each other was indescribable. He made His home with Her and took His delight between Her breasts. They lay in a tight embrace, Her image impressed on His body like a seal imprinted upon a page, as it is written, Set me as a seal upon Your heart (Song of Songs 8:6).

As long as the Temple stood, the King would come down from His heavenly abode every midnight, seek out his Bride, and enjoy her in their sacred bedchamber. But when the Temple was destroyed, the Shekhinah went into exile, and the Bride and Groom were torn apart. 4

2
URCHATZ
Wash hands before eating green vegetable.
No blessing is recited beforehand.

All: May what prevents us from experiencing the fullness of erotic love be washed away.


3
CARPAS
Dip green vegetable (parsley) in salt water.
Recite blessing.
Eat green vegetable (parsley).
Reader:

CARPAS (Green Vegetable)
CARPAS symbolizes the green, life-filled Garden, the natural world, where Lovers play. “Come, my beloved, let go into the open; let us lodge among the henna shrubs.” (7:12).

Reader:

ME-LACH  HA  MY-YEEM  (Bowl of Salt Water)
Salt water represents tears, the tears of those whose hearts have been broken by Love and the tears of those who have been oppressed by the self-appointed guardians of human sexuality who are in fact its secret enemies. “I met the watchmen who patrol the town; they struck me, they abused me” (Song of Songs 5:7).


All: BA-RUCH   A-TA   YAH,  E-LO-HAY-NU   RU-ACH  HA-O-LAM  BO-RAY  P-REE  HA- A-DA-MA.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Source of All, Who creates the fruit of the ground.

4
YACHATZ
Break the middle MATZA and hide the larger half (AFEECOMAN).

All: The Middle MATZA symbolizes the integration of our Divinity and our Humanity. We break this MATZA in half to emphasize that the work of integration is ongoing. In fact, it is life-long. Oftentimes, the work of integration cannot move forward because we are cut off from a part of ourselves. Only when we find that part of ourselves, can the work continue. As we make progress, we become more loving to ourselves and other people, thereby transforming the world into paradise.


5
MAGEED
Recite the Song of Songs.
Song of Songs 5:1 is the sacred arc of the story. Here the Couple consummates their love for each other. To emphasize the sacredness of this verse, it is chanted using the traditional trope.
Drink the Second Cup after reciting the Song of Songs.

All: This is the bread of affliction—LACH-MA  AN-YA—which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Whenever we are enslaved, enslaved by work, we cannot be present to ourselves or others, and Love suffers. And whenever Love suffers, we suffer. And whenever we suffer what we call God suffers. Let all who are hungry, come eat. Let all who are in need, come celebrate. 

All: “Bring me into the banquet hall, feed me with love; sustain me with raisin cakes” (Song of Songs 2:4-5). 6

All: Why is this night different from all other nights?

MA    NEESH-TA-NA    HA-LY-LA    HA-ZE    MEE-COL   HA-LAY-LOT?

All: On all other nights we eat leavened products and MATZA, and on this night only MATZA, which helps us to understand the importance of working toward integration in our lives.

On all other nights we eat all vegetables, and on this night only bitter herbs, which highlights for us the gap between our divinity and humanity.

On all other nights, we don't dip our food even once, and on this night we dip twice, which reminds us of the difference between hate and love, separation and connection.

On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining, and on this night we only recline, which instills in us hope for a transformed world.

The Four Wedding Guests

Take turns introducing each guest.

The Wise Wedding Guest asks, “Why does our tradition call on us to recite the Song of Songs? Explain to this guest how the themes of Passover and the Song of Songs are related to each other and then go on to share one or more secrets embedded in this work.

The Wicked Wedding Guest asks, “Why do you bother with the Song of Songs? Provide this guest with a direct and firm explanation: “Some say the Divine wrote the Song of Songs and gave it to us at the moment the Sea of Reeds was split. Others say the Divine gave it to Moses (MOSHE) along with the Torah at Sinai (SEE-NY). For me it was given, so I could rethink my relationship to the Divine and to others. If our hearts are overflowing with love, the world will be transformed.” 5

The Simple Wedding Guest asks, “the Song of Songs?” Explain to this guest that the Source of Love loves each of us so much that we were given the ability to experience love in general and erotic love and pleasure in particular.

The Wedding Guest Who Does Not Know Enough to Ask deserves patience. Say to this guest, “‘It is because of this that the Divine acted on my behalf when I left Egypt.’ The Divine freed me, freed us, out of love. The Song of Songs helps us to understand that the Divine is all love. All Love is the name of the Divine!


The Ten Plagues

Take turns introducing the plagues.

All: These are Ten Plagues inflicted on our Sacred Sexuality.

DAM (Blood):  Making Sex Unholy
Sex is holy! Human beings, particularly those who claim to speak on behalf of the Holy, make sex unholy. Changing pure into impure can be likened to changing water into Blood.



TZ-FAR-DAYA (Frogs): Treating Partners as Disposable
Choosing to end a committed relationship or marriage is a uniquely personal decision. The two people don’t deserve or need others to sit in judgment of them. Relationships and marriages take work. If we don’t discern whether we should put the work in and instead just pick up and leave, we behave much like Frogs, which jump from one feeding to the next.

CEE-NEEM (Lice): Unwanted Thoughts
Unwanted sexual thoughts, like Lice and other pests, cause us to loose focus, thereby opening the door to neglect of ourselves and others.

A-ROV (Wild Beasts): Addiction
Simply put, if we don’t control our sexuality, it will control us. When we spin out of control sexually we behave like Wild Beasts who indiscriminately trample on others.

DE-VER (Epidemic): HIV / AIDS
Without question, HIV / AIDS is a global Epidemic, a pandemic. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is transmitted primarily through unprotected sexual intercourse. Most people who have HIV or who are at risk for contracting it do not have access to care, prevention, or treatment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 36 million people have died of AIDS (since 1981), and 35.3 million are living with HIV/AIDS right now. 7

SH-CHEEN (Boils): STDs
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) make themselves felt in painful ways, like Boils on the skin. If left untreated, they can ravage the body and mind.

BA-RAD (Hail): Negative Messaging
Establishments, particularly religious establishments, routinely disempower people in order to perpetuate themselves. Instilling shame around sexuality is an ancient and highly effective way of controlling others. Subjecting people to negative messages about sexuality can be likened to pummeling them with Hail.

AR-BE (Locusts): Predators
Sexual predators, like Locusts, seek to devour. Some force homeless youth—40 percent of whom are LGBT—into prostitution, others traffic women and children into the commercial sex industry, and still others seek ways to fuel addiction to internet porn. 8

CHO-SHECH (Darkness): Ignorance
Millions if not billions of people have been rendered incapable of recognizing the inherent holiness of sexuality. They can’t see as if blanketed by Darkness.

MA-CAT  B-CHO-ROT (Death of the Firstborn): Sexual Violence
Countless fathers and mothers cry out in pain over the Death of the Firstborn, that is, the deaths of their children, who were victims of sexual violence. Rape, hate crimes based on gender identity and sexual orientation, and state-sponsored sexual terrorism are forms of sexual violence. Homosexual sex (between consenting adults) punishable by death is an example of state-sponsored sexual terrorism. (Homosexuality is a capital crime in nine countries: Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudia Arabia, Somaliland, Sudan, and Yemen.) 9


Telling the Love Story / Reciting the Song of Songs

Use a version of the Song of Songs that appeals to you. In case you choose one that doesn’t clearly identify the person or persons speaking, refer to the list below. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) is particularly well suited for a dramatic reading:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Song+of+Solomon+1&version=CEV

The Song of Songs, which consists of eight chapters, has six narrative parts: He, She, Friends, Wedding Feast Guests, Young Women, and a Narrator.

Chapter 1—Narrator: 1, She: 2–7, He: 8-11, She: 12-14, He: 15, She: 16-17. Note that in 1:5, Young Women speak these words: “We are happy for you! And we praise your love even more than wine.”

Chapter 2—She: 1, He: 2, She: 3-10, He: 11-15, She: 16-17. Note that in 2:10, He speaks these words: “My darling, I love you! Let’s go away together.”

Chapter 3—She: 1-5, Wedding Feast Guests: 6-11.

Chapter 4—He: 1-15, She: 16.

Chapter 5—He: 1, She: 2-8, Friends: 9, She: 10-16. Note that in 5:1, Friends speak these words: “Eat and drink until you are drunk with love.”

Chapter 6—Friends: 1, She: 2-3, He: 4-10, She: 11-12, Friends: 13. Note that in 6:13, She speaks these words: “Why do you want to see this woman from Shulam
dancing with the others?”

Chapter 7—He: 1-9, She: 10-13.

Chapter 8—She: 1-4, Friends: 5, She: 6-7, Friends: 8-9, She: 10-12, He: 13, She: 14. Note that in 8:5, She speaks the words: “I stirred up your passions
under the apple tree where you were born.”

All: “The Divine raises the poor from the dust, lifts up the needy from the refuse heap to set them with the great, with the great men of the Divine’s people” (Psalm 113:7-8)

All: “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Divine, at the presence of the Power of Jacob” (Psalm 114:7).

The Second Cup

All: BA-RUCH  ATA  YAH,  ELOHAYNU  RUACH  HA OLAM SHEHACOL NEEYA BEEDVARO.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Source of All, at whose word all things come into existence.


All: We call the Second Cup VAV.

Drink the Second Cup of milk and honey.

All: He has appeared!


6
RACHTZA
Wash hands before the feast.

All: May what prevents us from seeing others as reflections of ourselves be washed away.

BA-RUCH    A-TA   YAH   E-LO-HAY-NU    RU-ACH    HA-O-LAM,   A-SHER  CEE-D-SHANU B-MEETZ-VO-TAV,   V-TZEE-VA-NU   AL  N-TEE-LAT   YA-DA-YEEM.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Breath of All, Who sanctifies us with commandments and commands us regarding the washing of the hands.


7
MOTZEE  MATZA
Say blessings over bread and MA-TZA.
Everyone receives a piece of the top MATZA, which represents our Divinity.

All: May we come to know on the deepest level possible that All Is One! All is Divine!

BA-RUCH    A-TA   YAH   E-LO-HAY-NU    RU-ACH    HA-O-LAM,  HA-MO-TZEE LE-CHEM   MEEN   HA-A-RETZ.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Source of All, Who brings forth bread from the earth.

BA-RUCH    A-TA   YAH   E-LO-HAY-NU    RU-ACH    HA-O-LAM,  A-SHER  CEE-D-SHANU   B-MEETZ-VO-TAV,   V-TZEE-VA-NU    AL   A-CHEE-LAT   MA-TZA.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Source of All, Who sanctifies us with commandments and commands us regarding the eating of MATZA.

8
MAROR
Say blessing for eating bitter herb.
Eat a bitter herb.


All: BA-RUCH  A-TA  YAH,  E-LO-HAY-NU  RU-ACH  HA-O-LAM  A-SHER  CEED-SHAN-U B-MEETZ-VO-TAV  V-TZEE-VA-NU  AL  A-CHEE-LAT   MA-ROR.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Source of All, Who sanctifies us with commandments and commands us regarding the eating of MAROR.

Reader:

MAROR (Bitter Herb)
MA-ROR symbolizes unrequited love and one’s inability to embrace sexuality. “Upon my couch at night I sought the one I love—I sought, but found him not.” (Song of Songs 3:1) In addition, MAROR represents the pain that accompanies our failure to integrate our Divinity and Humanity.
Reader:

CHAZARET (Bitter Herb)
CHAZARET symbolizes the fragility and fleeting nature of love. Love is indeed fragile, “like a lily among thorns” (Song of Songs 2:2). We must take care, therefore, to protect it from being damaged beyond repair. “I opened the door for my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone.” (Song of Songs 5:6) In addition, CHAZARET, like MAROR, represents the pain that accompanies our failure to integrate our Divinity and Humanity.


9
CORAYCH
Eat MATZA and MAROR together.
Eat MATZA, MAROR, and CHAROSET together, if that is your custom.
Eat MATZA, CHAROSET, and REEMON (pomegranate seeds) together.

The Hillel Sandwich and the Selfless Love Sandwich

All: Tonight, we will eat two sandwiches, the Hillel Sandwich and the Selfless Love Sandwich.

Leader: The stack of three MATZOT represent our Divinity, our Humanity, and the integration of the two, and the MAROR and CHAZARET represent the pain that accompanies the division of our Divinity and Humanity.

In the days of the Second Temple, Hillel (HEE-LAYL) the Elder (c. 110 B.C.E . – 7 C.E.) ate the Passover sacrifice (lamb) with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

All: We observe this practice by eating MATZA and MAROR, which on this occasion, remind us that our lives cannot be free of pain and suffering as long as our Divine and Human natures remain separate. Let us eat the Hillel Sandwich.

Take two small pieces of MATZA and place a spoonful of MAROR in between. Now eat the Hillel Sandwich. If it is your custom, add a spoonful of CHAROSET or dip the sandwich in CHAROSET before eating.

All: How can we integrate our Divinity and Humanity?

Leader: The Torah answers, “Love your fellow as yourself” (Leviticus / VA-YEEC-RA 19:18).

Our brother Hillel knew this answer. “What is hateful to you,” he says, “do not to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is the commentary” (Babylonian Talmud, SHABAT 31a).

All: Love, ever-expanding Love, then, is the secret to bringing about Oneness in ourselves and in the world.

Reader:

CHAROSET (Fruit-nut Chutney)
CHAROSET symbolizes love! “‘Refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love’” (Song of Songs 2:5). The key ingredients for CHAROSET—though there are literally countless recipes—are all mentioned in the Song of Songs: apples, cinnamon, figs, raisins, and walnuts. CHAROSET is Love Paste. It cements and in some cases re-cements us to the Divine, who dwells within the human heart, and to one another. “Charoset,” writes Rabbi Arthur Waskow, “is an embodiment of the sacred text that is perhaps the most ‘subversive,’ certainly the most fully embodied, book of the Hebrew Scriptures—the Song of Songs.” 2

Reader: 

REEMON (Pomegranate)
The pomegranate, mentioned more than any other fruit in the Song of Songs,
symbolizes fertility and conjugal love par excellence! “Let us go early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine has flowered, if its blossoms have opened, if the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give my love to you” (Song of Songs 7:13). Those who scouted the Promised Land brought back pomegranates as proof of the land’s fecundity (Exodus / SH-MOT 13: 23). Pomegranates were incorporated into the design of the Temple and vestments of the High Priest—the capitals of the two free-standing columns, in front of the Temple, were covered with pomegranates, and the hem of the Robe of the Ephod was decorated with pomegranate-shaped tassels. For mystics, these associations were significant. In their view, the Temple (BAYT HA-MEEC-DASH) and the Holy of Holies (CO-DAYSH  HA-CO-DA-SHEEM) were imbued with Sacred Sexuality. The Temple / Holy of Holies was known as the “Bed Chamber” because therein A-DO-NY and SHE-CHEE-NA came together as One. 3

All: On this occasion, we eat MATZA and CHAROSET and REEMON (pomegranate seeds). By so doing, we remind ourselves of two things: our Divine and Human natures can be brought together if we truly love one another as reflections of ourselves, and it is the nature of self-less love to increase exponentially. Let us eat the Selfless Love Sandwich.

Take two small pieces of MATZA and place spoonfuls of CHAROSET and REEMON (pomegranate seeds) in between. Now eat the Selfless Love Sandwich.


10
SHULCHAN ORAYCH
Serve the Wedding Feast.

Reader:

ZROA (Shank Bone)
The shank bone symbolizes the Divine Masculine, in particular, the Cosmic Phallus or Lingam, the upward-pointing triangle of the hexagram. “As an apple-tree among trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the youths. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my mouth” (Song of Songs 2:3). A burnt bone reminds us that Sacred Sexuality, both Divine and Human, remains under siege and must be reclaimed and celebrated in our day.


Reader:

BAYTZA (Egg)
The egg symbolizes the Divine Feminine, in particular, the Cosmic Vulva or Yoni, the downward-pointing triangle of the hexagram. “Who is She that shines through like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, radiant as the sun… (Songs of Songs 6:10)? In nearly every culture, the egg symbolizes birth or rebirth as well as the female reproductive system, namely, the breasts and the womb. “Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle” (Song of Songs 7:4). A burnt egg reminds us that the Divine Feminine, the Goddess—known as SHECHEENA in Judaism—was driven from our consciousness, which introduced unprecedented imbalance into the world. In addition, a burnt egg reminds us that Sacred Sexuality, both Divine and Human, remains under siege and must be reclaimed and celebrated in our day.

Boiled rice can be used in place of boiled egg (Babylonian Talmud, PSACHEEM 114b). Place two boiled eggs—which are typically roasted after they’ve been boiled—or two dollops of boiled rice on the Seder Plate.



11
TZAFUN
Eat the AFEECOMAN.

All: We reunite with a lost part of ourselves so the work of integration can continue in earnest. We step toward greater health and wholeness, and we emerge as more caring, compassionate, and loving beings.

 “I eat my honeycomb with my honey” (Song of Songs 5:1 ‘RSV’).

The Wedding Feast was sweet, but the MATZA even sweeter. For this reason, we savor the taste of the MATZA one last time.


12
BARAYCH
Give thanks / say grace.
Drink the Third Cup of milk and honey.
Fill the King’s Cup with wine and Queen’s Cup with water.


All: PO-TAY-ACH   ET   YA-DE-CHA,  U-MAS-BEE-A   L-CHOL  CHY  RA-TZON.

BA-RUCH   ATA   YAH,  HA-ZAN   ET  HA-COL.

 “You open Your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:16 ‘RSV’). Blessed are You, Yah, Who nourishes all.

We are thankful, above all, for knowing You.

Psalm 63

Take turns praying aloud this psalm.

1A psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Judah.
2Beauty Beyond Beauty, You are my Power;
I search for You,
my soul thirsts for You,
my body yearns for You,
as a parched and thirsty land that has no water.
3I shall behold You in the sanctuary,
and see Your might and glory,
4Truly Your faithfulness is better than life;
my lips declare Your praise.
5I bless You all my life;
I lift up my hands, invoking Your name.
6I am sated as with a rich feast,
I sing praises with joyful lips
7when I call You to mind upon my bed,
when I think of You in the watches of the night;
8for You are my help,
and in the shadow of Your wings
I shout for joy.
9My soul is attached to You;
Your right hand supports me.

The Third Cup

All: BARUCH  ATA  YAH,  ELOHAYNU,  RUACH  HAOLAM, SHEHACOL NEEYA BEEDVARO.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Source of All, at whose word all things come into existence.

All: We call the Third Cup HAY.

Drink the Third Cup of milk and honey.


The King’s Cup

Leader: “Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of the Lord.” (Malachi / MAL-A-CHEE 3: 23).

For centuries, Jews have looked to the prophet Elijah (E-LEE-YA-HU), who was carried off to heaven in a fiery chariot, to return to Earth to announce the coming of the Messiah (MA-SHEE-ACH). Solomon, who is one of the forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses of Judaism, will surely accompany him (Babylonian Talmud, M-GEE-LA 14a). 10

Reader: According to legend, Solomon, who “was the wisest of all men” (I Kings / M-LA-CHEEM 5:11), possessed a cup in which he could see everything that was happening on the face of the earth, which explains, perhaps, why he knew so much about Love. 11

All: Let us fill King’s Cup with wine.

“Oh, give me of the kisses of your mouth, for your love is more delightful than wine.” (1:2)


The Queen’s Cup

Leader: “When the Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem….King Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba all she desired” (II Chronicles /  DEEV-RAY  HA-YA-MEEM 9:1and 12)

Reader: According to the Ethiopian Kebra Nagast or Glory of Kings, Queen Makeda of Aksum visited Solomon. 12 She agreed to sleep in a room near his providing he didn’t make any sexual advances toward her. Solomon agreed to abide by these terms as long as the queen didn’t take anything belonging to him. He then ordered a spicy meal to be prepared for the two of them. Afterward, he arranged for a glass of water to be placed at her bedside. During the night, she woke up thirsty and drank the water. A short while later, Solomon bellowed that Makeda had stolen from him and insisted that the two of them make love, which they did. The queen eventually returned home, pregnant with Solomon’s child, the future Menelik I, the ancestor of Haile Selassie (1892-1975), the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

All: Let us fill Queen’s Cup with water.

“You are a garden spring, a well of fresh water” (4:15)


Open the front door.

All:  

SHLOMO MAL-CEE,
SHLOMO CHA-CHA-MEE,
SHLOMO, SHLOMO, SHLOMO A-HU-VEE!
BEEM-HAY-RA   V-YA-MAY-NU   YA-VO   AY-LAYNU
EEM  MASHEEACH   BEN-DA-VEED
EEM  MASHEEACH  BEN-DA-VEED

Solomon my king,
Solomon my wise one,
Solomon my love,
Speedily may he come to us
with the Messiah, the son of David,
with the Messiah, the son of David.


13
HALAYL
Recite Psalms of Praise.
Drink the Fourth Cup.

All: “Oneness is mindful of us. The Divine will bless us; the Divine will bless the house of Israel; the Divine will bless the house of Aaron; the Divine will bless those who fear Oneness, small and great alike” (Psalm 115:12-13).

All: “I love the Divine for Oneness hears my voice, my pleas; for the Divine turns the Divine’s ear to me whenever I call….O Oneness, I am Your servant, Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have undone the cords that bound me” (Psalm 116:1-2, 16).

All: “Praise Oneness, all you nations; extol the Divine, all you peoples, for great is the Divine’s steadfast love toward us; the faithfulness of Oneness endures forever. Hallelujah” (Psalm 117:1-2).

All: “The right hand of Oneness is triumphant! The right hand of Oneness is exalted! The right hand of Oneness is triumphant!” (Psalm 118:15-16).


The Fourth Cup


All: BARUCH  ATA  YAH,  ELOHAYNU  RUACH  HAOLAM SHEHACOL NEEYA BEEDVARO.

Blessed are You, Yah, our Power, Source of All, at whose word all things come into existence.

All: We call the Fourth Cup YOD.  

Drink the Fourth Cup of milk and honey.

All: She has appeared!

  
14
NEERTZA
Conclude the Seder.

All: He and She are One, in Bliss, forever and ever!

 “Love is fierce as death, Passion is mighty as Sheol; its darts are darts of fire, a blazing flame. Vast floods cannot quench love, nor rivers drown it (Song of Songs 8:6-7).

Next Year in the Garden!

L-SHA-NA  HA-BA-A  BA-GAN!


Acknowledgements

I would like to acknowledge the contribution that my friend Joshua Greenberg made to this work. He was the first to mention that the shankbone and egg represented the Cosmic Phallus and Vulva. He suggested that participants sanctify one another through anointing with oil, and demonstrate their acceptance of Oneness through kissing one another’s hands.

I would like to acknowledge the assistance of David Katan with the song Shlomo Malkee.

Pronunciation Key

A  as in A piece of fruit
AY  as in The DAY after tomorrow
E  as in LET me do it
EE  as in MEET me there at noon
Y  as in Bthe seaside
O  as in OH no not again
U  as in Follow the RULE
TZ  as in The BERLITZ foreign language series
CH  as in The composer BACH
CH  makes a slight gargle-like sound.


Notes

1 The following is an easy-to-learn version of ERETZ  ZAVAT CHALAV  (A Land of Milk and Honey): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etHzgFYUtpk

2 Rabbi Waskow’s teaching on CHAROSET can be found on this page: https://theshalomcenter.org/node/1265)

3 Tanchuma, Vaera (TAN-CHU-MA, VA-AY-RA) 9 states that the bedchamber in which Joash (YO-ASH) and his nurse were hidden (II Kings / MLACHEEM 11:2 and II Chronicles /  DEEVRAY  HAYAMEEM 22:11) was the Holy of Holies. Tanchuma refers to an ancient collection of rabbinic homilies and Vaera to the weekly Torah portion Exodus (SHMOT) 6:2-9:35. Midrash Shir Ha-shirim Rabbah (MEED-RASH SHEER HA SHEEREEM RA-BA) (parasha 1) and Vakira Rabba (VAYEECRA RABA) (17, 7) regard the entire Temple as a bedchamber. Shir Ha-shirim Rabbah is a commentary on the Song of Songs and Vakira Rabba on the Book of Leviticus (SAY-FER  VAYEECRA).

4 Howard Schwartz, Tree of Souls (Oxford University Press, 2004), 54.

5 Rabbi Eliezer (E-LEE-E-ZER) stated that the Song of Songs was given at the Sea of Reeds (Shir Ha-shirim Rabbah 2.2.2) and Rabbi Akiva (ACEEVA) at Sinai (SEENY) (1.12.1).

6 “Bring me into the banquet hall, feed me with love” (Song of Songs 2:4) is supported by the LXX, one or more Syriac versions, and several medieval manuscripts. The source for this translation can be found on this page: http://classic.net.bible.org/home.php (NET Bible Learning Environment, online home of the NET Bible translation, which includes 60,932 translators' notes).

7 HIV / AIDS statistics can be found on this page: http://www.who.int/gho/hiv/en/

8 Homeless LGBT youth statistics can be found on this page: http://www.sdgln.com/news/2010/02/09/sex-trafficking-hits-san-diegos-lgbt-youths#sthash.8RydS39C.dpbs

9 The list of countries where homosexuality is considered a capital crime can be found on this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_by_country_or_territory

10 Rashi regarded Solomon as one of the forty-eight prophets; see The Stone Edition TANACH, Chart 14, 2038.

11 Robert Bly and Leonard Lewisohn (translators) The Angels Knocking on the Tavern Door: Thirty Poems of Hafez (Harper Collins e-books), 37. In the poem “What Do We Really Need?” Hafez writes: “Solomon’s cup, in which all the world could be seen, is the bright soul of the Friend.” Regarding this stanza, the translators write, on page 101, “The term translated here as “Solomon’s cup” is jam- i jahan-nama (the world-displaying goblet), referred to by Hafez in a number of other ghazals in this book.”

12 E.A. Wallis Budge (translator) The Kebra Nagast (1932), Chapter 30: Concerning How King Solomon Swore to the Queen and Chapter 31: Concerning the Sign which Solomon Gave the Queen.

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