Peta Jones Pellach
Teacher and activist in Jerusalem

Who Knows One in Our Times

Our Haggadah tells us that in every generation, one should see herself as if she experienced the redemption from slavery.

“In every generation” means that we retell the story in light of our current circumstances.

This year, when we sit at our Seder tables alone, or with the members of our immediate families only, it will be an opportunity, to relive the moments before our miraculous  rescue, when we were instructed to stay in our homes if we wanted to avoid the tenth and final plague. We will have the privilege of reflecting even more deeply on oppression and redemption in history.

These unique circumstances require a new interpretation of the narrative and new versions of the songs we sing. Here is one contribution:

Who knows One? I know One.

One is the Creator and all of creation – we are all one.

Who knows Two? I know Two.

Two are the weeks of isolation, the time to reflect on One above.

Who knows Three? I know Three.

Three are the admonitions of Hillel: If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?

Who knows Four? I know Four.

Four are our grandparents, here or beyond, who are present at our Seder even when they are physically separated from us.

Who knows Five? I know Five.

Five are the fingers on every hand – our hands and the outstretched hand of the Divine.

Who knows Six? I know Six.

Six were the miraculous days of our redemption in 1967, when we returned to the holy city of Jerusalem.

Who knows Seven? I know Seven.

Seven are the days of the week that we count until each Shabbat, the day of joy and of remembering.

Who knows Eight? I know Eight.

Eight are the days until the day when, in all times, under all circumstances, a mother allows her new-born son to be joined into the Covenant.

Who knows Nine? I know Nine.

Nine are the months that the mother carries a child and they are one.

Who knows Ten? I know Ten.

Ten are plagues and ten are blessings, ten are trials and ten are miracles – ten is the delicate balance on which the world stands.

Who knows Eleven? I know Eleven.

Eleven is up to us. Will we undo the balance of ten by healing and transforming the world or by doing harm to the earth and its inhabitants?

Who knows Twelve? I know Twelve.

Twelve are the months until next year – when we will celebrate our freedom together.

Who knows Thirteen? I know Thirteen.

Thirteen is for all the boys whose Bar Mitzvah has been postponed and with whom all of Israel will celebrate very soon!

About the Author
A fifth generation Australian, Peta made Aliyah in 2010. She is Senior Fellow of the Kiverstein Institute, Director of Educational Activities for the Elijah Interfaith Institute, secretary of the Jerusalem Rainbow Group for Jewish-Christian Encounter and Dialogue, a co-founder of Praying Together in Jerusalem and a teacher of Torah and Jewish History. She has visited places as exotic as Indonesia and Iceland to participate in and teach inter-religious dialogue. She also broadcasts weekly on SBS radio (Australia) with the latest news from Israel. Her other passions are Scrabble and Israeli folk-dancing.
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