According to tradition, the first food we eat at the Seder is a green vegetable dipped in saltwater. The vegetable was probably for sustenance; there’s a lot of ritual to get through before dinner. But the chosen dip isn’t about our hunger. It’s about our hearts. In the saltwater, we taste the sweat and tears of our enslaved ancestors. It’s not enough to recall their pain. We have to feel it. It becomes a present, bitter, inescapable taste in our mouths because injustice was and is present, bitter, and obscuring. Passover reminds that a cardinal Jewish sin is to let others’ suffering become a vague memory and injustice an abstract concept.
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