Set is the table in the ancient way:
With the triumphal wine, the humble-bread,
The platters that to hungry eyes display
The story-food whose meanings we shall read.
And all around the world, we know, is spread
This board, occurs this scene
Where scattered Jews convene,
Descendants of the host that Moses led.

We were all there. Each of us can recall
The brutal voice, the lash, the heat and thirst,
The lean of laboring crews that strain and fall,
The pangs that ripped the heart (that was the worst) For children snatched away by hands accursed;
The look of man to wife
Fearful of giving life
In a world where good and evil seemed reversed.

Oppression is. Morning and night the news
Is brought to us by print and flickering screen
In hard insouciant voices that refuse
To deepen to the mourner's keen.
The soul in us cowers unheard, unseen
Amid a world that bids
Us live by heartless wits
While all our senses suffer the obscene.

And Israel, in Israel 's promised land
Still wrestles with the angel of the choice
Whether to fight or welcome as a friend
Those who with weapons massed and dove-like voice
Ask land in trade for words of peace;
Still this debate so grieves
The nation that it cleaves,
And Jew sees fellow-Jew in the foe's place-

While massed behind our neighbors’ shoulders loom
Nations whose life seems fed by rage alone,
Who more than their own good desire our doom
And lack compassion even for their own,
And others, too, suborned and terrified
Till they consent to hate
Whom their foes designate,
Casting their honor and all hope aside.

Yet still we are commanded to recall
Not only Egypt but the going out:
Those messengers, still shaken by their call,
The signs they showed us, that dispelled our doubt,
The plagues that put our enemies to rout,
The seas that stood, aghast,
Aside while Israel passed
To where we praised our G‑d with song and shout.

The noise of secular time recedes. The tales
And songs are beating on the long-shut ear
Reminding us that there are miracles
Even when our eyes fail to behold them clear:
In every generation doubt and fear
Dispute which one shall slay
Our people on the way,
And yet, somehow or other, we are here.

And now perhaps each one recalls to mind
Some moment when before the straining eye
The seas of fate were parted, and a sign
Was given, that dispelled causality:
Moments of love, or of discovery,
When what we thought we knew
Opened to something new,
And in that new dimension we were free.

Together on this night we gaze ahead
As from the foreshore of our history,
The way a speaker stands before the unsaid,
Waiting the word. O G‑d our destiny,
Reveal us to ourselves! Cause us to see
The signs that You will send
Our spirits to befriend
And lead us out to Possibility.

Help us to find a language to the world
To plead our cause, our being and our place,
That all, no more chaotically hurled,
In all events Your ultimate Law may trace,
And meanwhile, keep and guard us by Your grace.
By ways hidden and clear
O may the time draw near
When all the world in Israel's name shall bless.