Apr 17 2020 Dvar Torah

Rabbi Robert Eisen


Depending upon the final publishing schedule, this piece will appear either immediately before we conclude our observance of Passover, or immediately after. And, though we might feel different about ourselves and this world we find ourselves living in before or after the end of our festival observance, I would venture to guess that we will all share one thing in common: a prayer that this year our prayers really will be answered!

True, the “Egypt” that we are experiencing is different than that of our ancestors. Yet, that we have been “groaning”, “crying out for help”, “moaning”, each in our own way, and collectively, cannot be denied.

We find ourselves in a place of “narrowness” (a word that is similar to a core meaning which can be derived from the Hebrew: MITZRAYIM - Egypt) ... a place where we have been, in some ways, cut off from those, and that, which mean the most to us. And, as we read in the HAGGADAH, we want only to be brought out from this slavery to freedom, from this despair to joy, from this mourning to celebration, from this darkness to light, from this enslavement to redemption so that we can sing before God a new song: HALLELUYAH.

What will it take? How will we get there?

Social distancing and following the guidelines of the CDC is a start … and absolutely necessary. However, in order to get through this we need to do one more thing: we need to embrace it for what it is … with a prayer.

As God prepared to take our ancestors out of Egypt, as a prelude to the 10th plague (the killing of the first-born), the people were told to put blood on their doorposts. Why? Was the Angel of Death that “challenged” that he had to look and see if the house was of the Hebrews or not? NO! The people were directed to place the blood on the doorposts to teach them that they would be saved only to the extent that they participated in that process … in order to be redeemed, they needed to work to redeem themselves.

What does that take? What is the equivalent for out day?

To start:

A prayer … a recognition that there is that which is greater than us (individually and/or collectively), and that there will be a time after this when we will be able to live life to the fullest once again.

A prayer … that we will find the strength to reach out to others the way we expect God to be reaching out to us.

A prayer … that we will continue to see beyond the present moment.

A prayer … that we will have the hope and the faith to remember that better days do lie ahead.

Will we ever return to what we used to have as normal? Other than trying not to take some things that we used to for granted I do believe that we will.

For our ancestors the wilderness was at times as trying as Egypt, but they continued to step forward because they knew there was a Promised Land. Let us pray that we can and will do the same.

Stay safe … Stay well …