These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

The only way to leave mitzraim is out of love

Posted on March 29, 2013 by Shoshana Rosen

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From my blog:

When I asked him why he made the haggadah he took a step back and gave me a weird shocked face, and said, “no one has asked me that question.” I also looked surprised, “no one has ever asked you why you wanted to make a haggadah?” He replied, “Well, not tonight.” (three hours into a five hour open art haggadah gallery of in the fancy Inbal hotel)

He then goes on to tell me why he made the haggadah. His wife got diagnosed with cancer around Passover time, went through chemo; and eventually, after a difficult battle, died during Passover time. He told me how making a haggadah was his own process of leaving Mitzrayim (Egypt). It was a way of working through his sufferings.

He replied in a laugh “I guess that was more intense and sad than you thought it would be.”

I half smiled and said, “Sometimes, life is more intense and sad than I thought it would be.”

He replied, “I like you!! Whats your name?”

After exchanging names and looking through his beautiful, gripping haggadah I was inspired, both by the art work but also by the story behind it.

The other three artists I talked to made their haggadahs because they had been commissions to, rich people liked their work and paid for their living costs for a year, 2,3, or even 4 years to make the haggadah. But this artist Avner Moriah made it out of love.

After looking through his haggadah I told him I would love to have some of the art to take with me, but that I am just a student. We talked prices, looked at different options, and both tried to see what we could do. But even with his 50 percent discount (because he likes me and said “you’re pretty special, I like the way you think”) it was still too much for my post-college in-debt self.

So I bought a copy of the haggadah, the mass produced one that you couldn’t see the true beauty of the paintings, but at least you got a feeling of it.

And he inscribed it, לשושנה to shoshana,

Something about my name in Hebrew, just feels like how it should be said.

So I left, started walking home to find the most stunningly amazingly, close-up moon I have every seen in my life, so much so that I wondered if I was on drugs.

As I walked the streets of Jerusalem with the moon to my left, and my new haggadah on my right, I thought the only way to truly end one’s own slavery is through love.