Maggid Mashup

During our 2011 Seder, Passover Village created an alternative ritual for telling Maggid, the story of our Journey from slavery to freedom. There is a tradition that Torah does not move in chronological or linear time. Drawing on this, we juxtaposed parts of the Passover ritual and liturgy in atypical combinations.

Counting off "Aleph, Bet, Gimel, Dalet" around our circle, we divided into four groups. Each group then took, by lot, a theme from each of three categories as follows:

Four Children:
  Simple or Naive
  Wicked or Alienated
  One that does not know how to ask

Four Symbols from Pesach Plate
  Egg (a symbol not discussed in most Haggadot)

Four Stages of Our Journey
  On the other shore of Sea (a stage not discussed in most Haggadot)

Each group then met to explore connections and meanings between the thematic elements they had drawn. The Haggadah discusses some of the possible combinations; for example the connection between Slavery and Mahror or the Pesach and Plagues. This exercise stimulated us to explore other combinations. Our four teams, for example, received the following combinations of elements:

  One who does not know to ask / Matzah / Slavery
  Wise / Flight / Maror
  Alientated / On the other shore / Pesach
  Simple / Plagues / Egg

Then, finding relief from the mid-afternoon sunlight in the shade and a breeze provided by granite cliffs outside of our campground, each team taught Maggid incorporating the elements they had drawn. Teams used different methods of story telling. In one team, each individual spoke about his or her personal interpretation. Another acted out a skit based on their assigned elements. One used psychodrama techniques to explore the feelings aroused by their journey. And another used body movement to update the archetypes in the story to the contemporary time.

The consensus among participants is that experiencing Maggid in this manner gave them a new connection to the elements of the Journey, making them feel in some ways that they had, themselves, gone out of Mitzrayim. Rather than hearing or reading someone else's story of the Exodus, we were able to tell our own stories of the passage to liberation; we "did" Maggid rather than "tell" Maggid. Further, members of the Passover Village community got to know each other in deep and profound ways by studying Torah together, and then revealing themselves on our rocky stage overlooking the desert.

This is an example of the type of creative ritual and community process that makes each Passover  Village encampment a meaningful and fun way to experience Passover.