Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Last Words Of The Seder

This was the first time we saw the Jaffe Gate in Jerusalem in June 2009. 
The Passover holiday seems to have snuck up on me this year. We have yet to find a synagogue near us and I haven’t been on Facebook much lately so my awareness of the Jewish calendar is sorely lacking as of late. It is a process at times to keep track of everything and the last month it has been hard to keep track of anything except what needs to be done in the moment. It is almost antithetical to that which we celebrate during this holiday as we look to both the past and the future. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the holiday, here is a great summary from Chabad.org:

After many decades of slavery to the Egyptian pharaohs, during which time the Israelites were subjected to backbreaking labor and unbearable horrors, G‑d saw the people’s distress and sent Moses to Pharaoh with a message: “Send forth My people, so that they may serve Me.” But despite numerous warnings, Pharaoh refused to heed G‑d’s command. G‑d then sent upon Egypt ten devastating plagues, afflicting them and destroying everything from their livestock to their crops.

At the stroke of midnight of 15 Nissan in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), G‑d visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. While doing so, G‑d spared the Children of Israel, “passing over” their homes—hence the name of the holiday. Pharaoh’s resistance was broken, and he virtually chased his former slaves out of the land. The Israelites left in such a hurry, in fact, that the bread they baked as provisions for the way did not have time to rise. Six hundred thousand adult males, plus many more women and children, left Egypt on that day, and began the trek to Mount Sinai and their birth as G‑d’s chosen people.

However, what really makes me wonder and forces me to think is the line with which we end the seder… “Next Year In Jerusalem!” Not only does it make me reflect on the story itself but also my own journey through life and it makes me wonder how things would have been different had we stayed, even just a little bit longer, in Jerusalem. And when I think of this I can’t help but hope that one day we will be able to share our love for Israel with our son. We want him to know the land, the people, the history, the meaning, and the heart of Israel. So, maybe, next year in Jerusalem.