It was brought to my attention (thanks Lesley Williams!) that the evening of second seder was also the anniversary of MLK’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech (which he delivered in Memphis the night before he was assassinated.) We read it at our seder and were all taken at how perfectly his words fit into the Pesach experience. It was profoundly moving to hear aloud the words of a man who seemed to understand, like Moses at the end of the Torah, that he would die before entering the land:
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult times ahead. But it doesn’t matter to me now. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
One line in his speech caught my eye in particular:
And wherever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.
A stray thought: what an interesting challenge to the orthopedic directive of the seder! Might we dare to sit up straight and tall, not recline? (After all, a man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent…)