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    Seder & the 5 senses

    Sight: All of us, not merely the children, gasp with awe and delight when they enter the room for Seder. What a feast for the eyes! In observing the festival, every generation’s eyes are opened to the words of the Psalmist, “He remembered His mercy and faithfulness to the House of Israel: All the ends of the earth saw the salvation of our God” (Psalm 98:3).

    Smell: What a fragrance the house has in the lead-up to the festival. The Seder table is an array of aromas, the sour and the sweet, echoing the mixture of emotions with which we recall the slavery and celebrate the freedom. Jewish history is redolent with the aroma of long experience. No Jew can turn their back on who we have been, who we are, who we dream of being.

    Touch: As we handle the special foods, the special dishes, the moments that reconstruct the feelings of our ancestors as they emerged into a new destiny, we pray that we may live to touch and be touched by the beginning of the final redemption.

    Hearing: The stories, the songs, the prayers are old friends familiar from all the years before, but every year we hear them again for the first time and through them we hear the Divine message, “Man is unique, and man must be free to be him/herself”.

    Taste: Nothing tastes like the first bite of matzah: nothing is as delectable as the favourite food traditions of the family. “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” says King David (Psalm 34:9). We do not merely theorise but we taste: we encounter God and Judaism, and we know they are good.

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