Approaching the Unknown
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| Published: March 26, 2021
As we approach the Seder night 5781, we have two very specific areas of life to ponder. We can look back and remember the most difficult year that our people experienced and simultaneously we can look forward with hope to something that is beyond our intellectual capabilities. The Slonimer Rebbe often emphasizes that Judaism is not a religion simply based on symbols of the past. We must acknowledge and appreciate those events so that we can fix them in our present world and therefore look forward to the future with great excitement and anticipation.
When the 10 thplague of the killing of the first born Mitzri sons took place it was clear to everyone that Hashem’s Shechinah was revealing itself for all to see. The reactions of the two nations were so opposite. The Mitzrim were so scared they ran as hard and fast as they could for fear that even further destruction was about to come their way. The B’nai Yisrael, on the other hand, recognized that this was a “mora gadol,” a great and awesome moment (Mechilta Parshat Bo). Hashem was revealing Himself in front of their eyes. They understood that this once in a lifetime moment which needed to be seized with “yirat shamayim,” intense awe of God, so that they would have the foundation to enable themselves to open up and be ready to receive what was to follow;
We too are at a very intense spiritual crossroads in the history of our people and the world. No doubt we have all, each in their own way, experienced a most awe involved year. After all that, do we really want to go back to “normal” (sic)? Do we want to return to a society which clearly lacked honesty and caring, a world where not only was God disregarded ,but even one where numerous people felt they themselves could play God? Or perhaps we want to breakout of that self-slavery and take a chance of entering into a new unknown world, one where we can trust ourselves, trust each other and be certain that Hashem has only the best loving future waiting for us all. It’s like we were in MItzraim. If we become aware of our “emunah,” if we know, as Reb Shlomo would teach, the importance of asking, then Hashem will say “Dayenu.” You have had enough!
Seder night. The Ba’al Hahaggadah clearly stated, “each person is obligated to see himself / herself as if he / she is going out of Mitzraim tonight. “This is our chance. Let us not be afraid. What are we really waiting for? What more do I think I need to consume and take ownership of? Friends, Pharoh finally learned that fighting with Hashem is a losing battle. We too have experienced a year with a whole lot of shaking going on. So often, in order to really believe in action, mind and heart, we are JUST waiting to see the proof in the form of a miraculous event. One way to see those miracles is to first listen. Hashem is talking to us all of the time. It was so evident this year. Why run away? I would much rather acknowledge and identify.
This Shabbat, Shabbat Hagadol shel ha’Gedolim, we have the chance to connect to the great strength of this special Shabbat immediately preceding the great holiday of Pesach. This Shabbat can offer us a glimpse of the greatness of Hashem’s love for us. We need to in order to get ready for Pesach and carry it with us into the Seder night. Fortunately for us, this year the Seder arrives as we are still fresh from the sweetness of the power of this Shabbat. Let us only be in awe of Hashem’s endless eternal capabilities, take a deep look inside and, as Reb Shlomo would teach, seize this great moment to get ready to receive an abundance of love which frankly has been waiting for us all of this time. Now it is our chance to be willing to open up and receive something new and tailored made for our world in our times. May we be blessed to fulfill the promise of the Talmud, “in Nissan we were redeemed and in Nissan we will experience the final redemption.” You gotta believe!
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,