A Season of Hope
Pesach is a holiday that commemorates an ancient historical event – the exodus from Egypt. Yet, while our seders offer us a chance to reflect upon our past, our celebration (especially this year) also reminds us to look thoughtfully and optimistically towards the future.
One of the primary themes of Passover is zicharon – remembrance. So many of the rituals associated with Passover are designed to recall the drama of leaving Egypt. Even though this event happened thousands of years ago, much of the liturgy in the haggadah relates to the hope for the coming of the messianic age. The cup of Elijah reminds us of the redemption that is to come; the haftarah reading chosen for the last day of Passover has a futuristic dimension; we sing at the end of the seder: “l’shanah haba’ah (next year) b’Yerushalyim.” Yet, we live in the present, trapped between these two-time tenses.
Both the seders and the yizkor service offer a unique opportunity to reflect upon the past and remember our loved ones. At the same time, in the true spirit of Passover, we must think about our future as well. Part of the message of Judaism and of Passover is to reassure us that we can move forward beyond these troubling times, precisely because we are strengthened by our link to our past and to those who came before us and gave us life.
May our Pesach celebration this year be filled with moments that are truly devoted to the memory of our loved ones. May their lives serve as a source of inspiration and give us the resolve, determination and hope to dedicate ourselves now and in the future to what was precious to them – a better world for our children and our children’s children.
With blessings from our home to yours.
Rabbi Peter S. Berg is the senior rabbi of The Temple.