The Passover haggadah, which we will all soon be reading with our children, as generations before us have done, was compiled during the first and second centuries, during one of the most difficult periods in the history of the Jewish people. Jews faced the loss of political independence, the destruction of the Temple, and the failure of the great revolt against the Romans, which led to the greatest shedding of Jewish blood prior to the Holocaust.
The Jewish spiritual leaders turned to an event that had taken place over a millennium earlier in order to encourage and inspire in the people a hope for the future through the story of the Exodus from Egypt, a story of salvation and liberation following a period of hardship and enslavement.
The lesson that they sought to instill is that even in times of darkness, in periods of hardship that may seem eternal, one must never lose hope, but believe in redemption and freedom. In modern history, in that same spirit, the Jewish people gathered the incredible strength and determination required to recover from the Holocaust and to stand strong again, rebuilding our sovereign nation state in our ancient homeland.
As we soon read the haggadah and look back on the past year and all its challenges, from a global pandemic to an alarming rise in antisemitism, it is most fitting to be reminded of the strength and resilience of our people, of all that we have accomplished and of the legacy that we continue to pass on to our children and to humanity.
Anat Sultan-Dadon is consul general of Israel in Atlanta.