In Search of Freedom: A Passover Seder for Darfur- Matzah and Bitter Herbs
Witness to Destruction
What I found most powerful on that trip was a story that I heard from several people in hiding about their struggle to find drinkable water. When men would go to the wells the Janjaweed would shoot them; when women would go to the wells the Janjaweed would rape them. So they decided to send their young children, ages 6 or 7, to fetch water, hoping that the Janjaweed would ignore them. It made me wonder what I would do as a parent of three young children—would I send my kids to these wells knowing they would be met by gunmen… but if I didn’t send them, how would we get water? To this day, I do not have a clear answer.
Matzah, also known as the “bread of affliction,” leaves our mouths dry and parched. But rather than quench our thirst with water we taste the bitter herbs (maror), remembering the pain and anguish of our ancestors in Egypt and all those who suffer under the tyranny of contemporary Pharaohs.
We place a small amount of horseradish on the matzah, recite a blessing, and eat the matzah.
Blessed are You Eternal One, Sovereign of the world, Who brings forth bread from the earth.
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam, Ha-mozi lekhem min ha-aretz.