In a few weeks we’ll be gathering again for the family ritual of the seder. Passover arrives and with it the spring and another opportunity for own own reflection. I am always struck by the theme of liberation that I sense as the seder unfolds. This is serious stuff! I think it is even more powerful for our generation. For many boomers, it is a season that we begin to contemplate “what we want to do when we grow up”. The kids are grown and we may be thinking seriously of transitioning from full time work. For many of us, though,we have many issues that make life decisions more challenging. Caring for aging parents and our involvement with our own children and, if we are lucky, involvement with grand children, add to the mix of “issues”. Then there is the increasing concern of our own health, made even more pronounced as we witness the discussions among our peers of medications, operations and serious illness.
So where is the liberation? Well, Passover is one of those festivals that underscore Jewish tradition’s them that it is never too late too move on, to change your outlook, to learn new skills and to continue to grow. Indeed, we understand this from the Torah itself. Abraham in Genesis 12 is given the call to “go forth” (lech l’cha) to a place that he did not know. Trust and faith were to carry Abraham forward. Trust in some eventual outcome and a faith in himself and his God, that the future would unfold in a positive way.
These themes of trust and faith are powerful forces that motivate us and, in many cases, push us forward in life. The story of the Exodus; the movement from slavery to liberation that we read at seder is a metaphor for each of us. Every year we are called to move forward, to free our self from that which enslaves us; if we only have the courage to trust our instincts and have faith in our own dreams.
So, as we prepare to observe and to celebrate this most popular of holidays, let me wish you a Passover of peace and health as well as a Passover that encourages your own dreams and hopes. Go forth and fear not.
Rabbi Richard F Address, D.Min
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.