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  • Writer's pictureShana Ritter


I will not be hosting Seder tonight or tomorrow, a rarity for me. We will be sharing it with friends at their homes. I’ve always loved Pesach because it is a holiday of shared story. It is an invitation, some might say a command, to examine oppression and liberation and the journey between and beyond them. The story twists and bends a little differently in every home. The themes remain central and constant, the exploration unique

Here is my own Passover poem originally published in Lilith.

What If Miriam Had Climbed Up The Mountain And Left Moses Waiting With The Multitudes?

Would the commandments be a softer thing

written with a wing-like stroke an incantation

of phrases ordering the day?

Was it the brash way of Moses that brought down

the heavy hand of heaven thrusting and weighty,

so that only stone could sustain the inscription?

If Miriam had climbed the steep slopes bracelets tinkling,

exchanges whispered in those highest of altitudes

would we now have a list of suggestions?

And if Moses had stayed below bringing order to those

lost tribes gilded with abandon would we have been left

to wander forty years, never arriving into sweetness?

When Miriam descended Sinai, would her scarves

have shone incandescent on the breeze, her tambourine

sonorous, her voice decrying love, gratitude, blessings

and the exact directions to the promised land?

Would we have settled in those hills

families, tribes and strangers, granting

new names to the lands, weaving a tapestry of laws

leaving the unforgiving thunderous burden of stone

on the mountain, far beyond anyone’s reach.

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