THE VALUES SEDER PLATE
For Shabbat, I put a ribbon that says “chosen” because on Shabbat we need to remember that Hashem chose us out of all the other nations. For the treatment of stranger, widow, and orphan I put a string because when you need to remember something you tie a string around your finger and when we are with a stranger, widow, or an orphan we can’t treat them badly because we need to remember that we were slaves too. For the treatment of slaves, I put a bag full of something because when you are freeing a slave you can’t let them go empty handed like we were when we were leaving Egypt. We don’t want them to suffer like we did. For weights and measures I put a scale because you can’t lie about weights and measures. Also, we were cheated in Egypt when we had to make more bricks with less material and we don’t want others to go through that. For Pesach I put the splitting of the sea because on Pesach you have to remember that Hashem took us out of Egypt. For tefillin I put a muscle wearing tefillin because tefillin is supposed to be a reminder that Hashem took us out of Egypt with a strong hand.
The first image I placed on my Seder plate is a picture of a white man traveling with a black slave. The message is to be nice to everybody, no matter their job, race, religion or if you don’t even know them. The second image I placed on my Seder plate would be a brick. In a physical representation, the Jews had to carry around bricks all day, every day. I think at the time of the Seder where it comes to the brick part, each family member should lift up the brick 3 times. The message of this is just to remind yourself how bad and harsh the Jews lives were when they were in Egypt. The third image that I placed on my Seder plate is a siddur. The message of this is just to remember that we would be nowhere without Hashem. The fourth image that I would place on my Seder plate would be money. It shows how much we have thrived since the days we were in Mitzrayim.
For my Passover Seder Plate I made the themes for Passover, Sukkot, Tefillin, kindness to slave, and kindness to strangers. I represented these by taking images and representing them. For my Passover theme, I chose a picture of what my Seder table usually looks like and all rituals and foods involved with Passover. For Sukkot, I chose to take a picture of a Jewish man saying the blessing holding the lulav in his hand. I decided to go with this picture because it shows the most important part of the holiday by being in the Sukkah just like our ancestors did. For Tefillin theme I chose an IDF soldier praying with his tefillin. I find this picture very important because it is really spiritual as a Jew and how we unite and put our tefillin on just like our ancestors. For kindness to slave, I decided to put an image of Moses and Aaron confronting Pharaoh. Although Moses was not a slave to Pharaoh, I think it depicts how us Jews were waiting to be freed from bondage in Egypt. Lastly for kindness to strangers, I decided to take a picture of a homeless man with a sign saying, “seeking human kindness.” This picture means a lot considering that the homeless population is growing by the second. It’s surprising that the world has gotten to this point and I chose this image because we always need to remember not to judge people right away because we all aren’t perfect. We should not judge people by characteristics but by their character and personality and it can be hard sometimes with homeless people. In conclusion, I think the images I chose all have great representations of my depiction of Passover.
I included faith on the top of my Seder Plate because we remember the Exodus and our slavery in Egypt throughout our entire religion.
I chose the word respect for loving a stranger, or widow because, it’s hard to allow yourself to welcome someone who isn’t like you. With this word it allows me to understand how I want to be treated so I should treat others in this way. The Egyptians thought us Jews were strangers, so they treated us horribly because of this. For the connection of Tefillin, I choose the word hope. A major lesson I took from these words came from, in Egypt we had to have hope that everything would turn out for the better and now in the present we also have to have hope. Tefillin is a visual reminder of this lesson that we see every day. Hashem took us out of Egypt with a strong hand which also can be used as a reminder. Another quality we had when we were leaving Egypt was, faith a word I related this to was courage. When leaving Egypt, we had to trust Hashem that He knew what they were doing, so do we in our everyday life. This can be very difficult and we all need courage to have this quality because, life has ups and downs and the only way we can get through life is if we have courage like when we left Egypt. A final topic I covered is interest a word that I related to this is, attitude because, life is all the way you look at it. When we the Jews were leaving Egypt, we had to have an optimistic attitude about our future, so do we in our day to day life. We also have to make sure we help others to the best of our abilities and make sure others have everything they need.
I included a piece of ripped clothing on my Seder plate to remember that we were nothing before Hashem was here to save us. I included a dog's left heel so that we remember that the dogs showed us kindness by not barking when we left Egypt and so we should respect them and be thankful. I included an image of water in a nice jug to remember what the water did for the Jews. It saved Moses and it split to let us out of Egypt. I included a Chumash to acknowledge that we might be kings tonight, but Hashem will always be our King. Those were some ideas that I thought should be on the Seder plate.
To represent kindness, I chose the image of a man who is holding an umbrella over a woman in a wheelchair instead of himself. We were once strangers in Egypt and because of the lack of kindness that we received in Egypt we should do the opposite and we should treat everyone with kindness, even people we don't know! To represent the action of being fair I chose an image where there are three kids: one small, one medium and one tall. Instead of all of the kids getting the same block, each one gets what is right for them to see. We knew how it felt like to be treated unfairly, because they didn't pay the Jews for their work, they lied. We learn from this to be honest with our interactions, be kind and be fair! To represent faithfulness, I chose the image of a person with their hands together praying as the sun sets. God kept his promise of taking us out of Egypt, therefore, we should trust and have faith in Him. To represent the action of putting on Tefillin I chose an image of a person’s hand with tefillin wrapped around. When we put tefillin on our arm we remember that God took us with a strong hand out of Egypt and we remember all of the miraculous things God does and keeps on doing for us.
I chose to demonstrate kindness to slaves. The reason why we have to be kind to slaves is because we were slaves and we know how it feels and we did not leave empty handed. Kindness to the widows, strangers and orphans. The reason why we need to be kind to the strangers, widows, and orphans is because we were strangers in a land and we once needed help; we try and feel for them. I chose to demonstrate the quality of not charging interest. We should help others without expecting rewards. We should be there for each other. G-d helped even when it wasn’t pleasant, and we should do the same. We should be honest in weights and measures. We know what it’s like to be treated unfairly so we should treat people fairly.
The uppermost image embodies the concept of faith and confiding and trusting in God. We, the Jewish people, are encouraged to honor our own personal perceptions of God, as well as the numerous principles quoted in the Torah. God keeps His covenant and loving compassion with those who love Him in return. The next image to the right illustrates the notion of not charging interest and showing magnanimity - helping others without expecting a reward or compensation in exchange. Taking advantage of others’ misfortunes and enriching yourself in the process is nothing but unethical. Just as God supports us in unpleasant, strenuous times without “charging a bill,” we must do the same for each other. The image following the one just described symbolizes the undertaking of honest weights and measures. Just as Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “Honesty is the best policy.” Being honest connotes integrity, truthfulness, and straightforwardness. In former times, our people, the Jewish nation, were treated unfairly and without reason, and thus we must learn to commiserate with this past injustice and behave upon our knowledge of it. God is never dishonest when seeing to us - we should be able to do the same for each other. The image below the previous one mentioned portrays the gesture of displaying concern and consideration for others; expressing kindness to a stranger, your widowed neighbor, or an orphan on the street. Being humble and recognizing that you, without a doubt, also once needed a helping hand and some comfort is a virtue. The last image represents the deed of being altruistic and benevolent towards one’s inferiors - for example, their workers or employees. Actively acknowledging the reality that our people, at points in history, were slaves in bondage, alongside remembering that God assured that they would not exist empty-handed, is paramount. Empathizing with others’ suffering is one of the most generous efforts a person can pursue.
In the following image I drew a Seder plate which represents the Holidays that we celebrate and why it is important to commemorate each of them. On the top, I drew hands from different races holding onto one another which represents unity. The story of Exodus is what united the Jewish people and brought them together as a nation. The left drawing represents the gift of Shabbat that God gave to us which makes us unique and different from the other nations. The right drawing represents kindness to strangers because we were once many times in the same position when other people were kind to us. The bottom drawing represents honesty because that is also what turned the Jewish people into a nation in the dessert.
For my Seder plate I have chosen 5 topics that have to do with the Exodus: Tefillin, honest weights and measures, Pesach, treatment of a stranger, widow and orphan, and treatment of a slave. For Tefillin I decided to use an image of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with tefillin photoshopped onto the hand to commemorate G-d freeing us from Egypt with a mighty hand. For Pesach I decided to use an image of the Israelites leaving Egypt through a giant exit sign. I chose this image of the Exodus because that is what we are supposed to think about during Pesach. For honest weights and measures I chose a picture of a fist holding an uneven scale. I chose this image because it represents how it's unfair to falsify weights and measures, we should know since we were held against our will in Egypt for 210 years. For treatment of a stranger, widow and orphan I decided to use an image of an Israelite slave in Egypt with a face with a question mark on it. This is meant to represent how we were also strangers at one point, so we should be understanding of strangers. For slavery I used a picture of Israelite slaves in Egypt. I used this to represent how you should not treat them unjustly because we were slaves ourselves, so we should know how it feels.
When the Torah tells us to be kind to the stranger among us, it says to remember that we were once slaves in Egypt. What do these two things have to do with each other? My Seder plate represents a cycle that explains this connection. Beginning at the bottom right, we have oppression; we were oppressed by the Egyptians. Continuing clockwise around the circle, the next is rebellion-- we rebel against the Egyptians. After that is defeat, when God helps us finally defeat the Egyptians, followed by freedom, we are free and in power, and oppression. Oppression is the point of return. Once a person has freedom, they have to make a choice. “Should I stay in power and cast a shadow over the other,” which continues the cycle, “or make room to let them in?” which leads to the final step, the only action which has the power to break the cycle- acceptance. So, next time you meet someone new, or encounter something different from yourself, remember, you were slaves in Egypt once. You, at one point, were the “other”, the stranger, the outcast, and send a little love their way. This is the message the Torah tells us.
My picture on the top represents God’s power to change the environment of the earth or a person. If a person is mad, God can make him of her happy. The picture shows a hand with lightning. The picture on the left is supposed to be a muscular arm in the middle of his land. It means that physical strength can't last forever, while God’s power rules more than one nation, He rules everything. The picture on the right represents all the families who celebrate Pesach. Our families laugh and talk together on this holiday. Lastly, the picture on the bottom shows the nation of Israel around a wheel of matzah. This tells us how the nation of Israel worked as a team to prepare to leave Egypt.