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Per Diem for March: Judeo-Christian Traditions

For March our guest editor Carmen Sterba take a reverent and light-hearted haiku look at themes suggesting Passover and Easter. She writes:

Haiku have the ability to stir our poetic spirits, our souls, and tickle
our funny bones. The following 31 haiku represent the simple and profound
in Jewish and Christian traditions, including songs.

During Passover/Pesach, the historical memory of overcoming slavery is
celebrated. The Passover song “Dayenu” will remind believers of their
gratefulness for the time Jewish people were freed from slavery, given the
Torah, and the Shabbat. This song’s refrain is, “It is sufficient.”

For other believers, the words of “Amazing Grace” will recall personal
memories, thanks to the old sea captain, John Newton, who gave up the
monstrosity of running slave ships, was transformed by his belief, and
wrote the most famous of English hymns with these words, “I was lost and
now I’m found, was blind but now I see.”

Carmen Sterba


“Dayenu” (also spelled Dayeinu) is a poem/song containing fifteen stanzas
describing acts of God’s kindness starting from the Exodus out of Egypt.
Each stanza ends with Dayenu, which infers it would have been sufficient
if God had helped in just one way, Hallel (Praise God).

Dovan is Hebrew for prayer. With poetic license, the poet added –ing to
make dovaning.

Paczki is a Polish sweet bread for Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins.

Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus entrance in Jerusalem during Passover, before
his crucifixion and resurrection.

Regardless of our current persuasions, we cannot live in the West and not be affected by these rituals and traditions which have entered our common culture. Enjoy!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. The deeper I go into Christianity the more I see interchangeable words with other concepts… which somehow break through traditonal rituals and traditions. For example I see the word justice in one tradition only to find discipline in another… gentle steadfast love in one tradition and devotion in another… or humility in one tradition and simplicity in another. My use of the word “GOD” goes far beyond any tradition … and yet all these various ways of looking at this issue add richness and depth to our spiritual journeys. There are many languages in our world… we try to understand everyone’s language if we want a dialogue. And the more I learn of other traditions the more insight it gives me in my own Christian faith. So I am exceedingly happy to come across haiku written in the tradition of the person writing… in any way they want to explore that faith … and as in prayer, that sometimes means expressing all sorts of emotions brought about by the faith… enriching each other. Many thanks, Carmen for the work you’ve done in this field. I am in your debt.

  2. “The Story Retold”

    I love the theme for the March Per Diem: Judeo-Christian Traditions. I remember when my children were young we celebrated both Easter and Passover. Easter I did on auto-pilot right down to the two big baskets left by the Easter Bunny. One for my daughter. One for my son. Their dad always helped with Passover. After he left, I wanted to keep up our two traditions. As an RC, I followed a how-to-book to guide me through Seder starting with the blessing “barukh atah…” One memory stands out. My youngest child’s question, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” For years my silent answer was the same, “Because your dad may come back.” I don’t remember when it changed to, “Because now I know your dad isn’t coming back.” I just know it did.

    this year too
    the chocolate bunny
    hollow inside

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