We’ve all taken a long journey over this past year.
Just over a year ago – it was right after Purim – the world was thrown into the grips of a new plague. Our lives were altered almost overnight, and we were forced to face a formerly unexplored disease; one which had devastating consequences. To this day we still aren’t entirely informed as to its course. At best we can say that we’re in the process of “taming” it!
Here we are again, one year later. We face the prospect, depending on whether or not we’ve been fully vaccinated, depending on who in our families are similarly inoculated, and how confident we are in its all-round effectiveness, of sitting around the Seder table with friends outside our “bubble” or taking advantage of Zoom and our computers.
The Seder is all about seeking answers by examining our past experiences and asking the right questions. In the course of my own life’s journey, I’ve come to see adversity as a prod. Instead of asking “Why me?” I prefer to ask the question: “What is my Creator trying to teach me?” “What changes – even little ones- might I need to make so as to become a more humane human being?”
Rather recently I’ve started to recognize the Divine element of “love.” To put it in a different way, I believe that the Intelligent Force, the Source of Everything, adores Creation and all its inhabitants; in other words, every human being regardless of color, religion or ethnic background. If we can hold onto this concept, the important question becomes, “How do we reflect back that Divine Love through our own lives?”
While the story of the Exodus is set with characters of various stripes, I believe we need to see ourselves in all of them! Like Pharaoh, just how stubborn are we? How willing are we to listen to the voices of those most directly affected by our decisions? The attempt to remove all traces of Chametz, leaven, from our homes is understood to symbolize those elements in our lives which, in truth, turn out to be self-destructive. Elements which deny us the significance and grandeur that human life can reflect.
On the opposite end of the spectrum we sing the ever-popular “Dayenu” which lists, one after the other, the many miracles that the Almighty performed for us from the Exodus all the way up to the building of the Temple.
Again, as I reflect on the events of my own life I am awed by all the “Dayeinu’s” I could apply. This exercise fills me with a sense of Divine Blessing. I believe that if we take the time to examine all the overlooked blessings in our lives we, too, will be awed by just how fortunate we are.
Our community seder will provide questions for us to reflect on. I hope you can join us.
May this Pesach represent a “Spring of Redemption” in all our journeys.
With fond wishes for a happy Pesach,
Rabbi Mordecai Miller
ISRAELI-ETHIOPIAN PASSOVER MOVIE
Rabbi Miller collaborated with Rabbi Joshua Weisberg in Jerusalem on his writing of this unique Haggadah, featuring some of the history of the Beta Yisrael, the Ethiopian Jews, and their experiences immigrating to Israel. Here are links to this special Haggadah, and to a short movie made by Rabbi Weisberg about Israel’s Ethiopian Jews. Stories of Israel Haggadah online
It’s the time of Counting the Omer
. See Lee Feinstein’s Counting Omer quilt as the cover of last year’s Shofar
, along with her description of the counting and its meditations on page 10.