“Every Passover we read from the haggadah, after tasting the bitter herbs. “In every generation one must look upon him/herself as if they personally had come out of Egypt.” For most, that verse might have been difficult to understand. How do we bridge thousands of years? This year, the connection is ironic and poignant. We are presently tasting the bitterness of loss of life among our relatives, friends and neighbors. As our ancestors witnessed the reality of plagues, their lives were affected. They must have been frightened to witness the raw power of disease and nature displayed.
We, too, have been greatly affected as we watch the numbers of fatalities increase daily. Our ancestors reach through time and offer needed comfort. When the haggadah retells the Passover story, it concludes with this verse, “Now we are here; next year may we be in the land of Israel. Now we are slaves; next year may we be free people.” They knew that sometimes in life, plagues occur. We must make our way through those plagues the best way we can. Our fervent hope in being in a better place next year is crucial. Israel may be the country of Israel, a synagogue, restaurant, theater or at any place of enjoyment. Mostly, however, we want to be free. Free of this awful virus, free from the burden of worrying so much about life and death. This Passover, let’s focus on the future and the freedom it holds for us all.”
Rabbi Albert Slomovitz is the founder of the Jewish Christian Discovery Center, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to educate Christians about their Jewish roots, helping reduce anti-Semitism.