Let me be among the many who wish you and your family a sweet, healthy and joyous Passover. This is THE most powerful of all our festivals. The mythology of the Exodus and the imagery of our own struggle to find, in our own wilderness, a sense of meaning and purpose. I think this becomes even more pronounced for us as we confront our own aging and the changes on our own family situations. This will be the first seder in memory where there will be no children present. The young people in our family are all moved away and the rest of the family and friends will arrive with no youngsters. There is a real sense of change. After all, at one of these seders, the youngest to ask the four questions may be on Medicare! So we will use the “young at heart” feeling.
The words of the Hagaddah deserve hours of study and conversation. Their meaning becomes even more intense as we experience life. One such message I would like to offer to you to reflect upon. I found a reference to it as I was looking up discussion material for a recent Torah study at my congregation. It was an interpretation on that line that reminds us that “we were strangers in the land of Egypt”. The commentator asked the reader to play with the concept of “stranger” in ways other than how we usually understand it; as some one not native to a land. Rather, he suggested, the thought that within each of us resides a stranger, a part of our self that is searching, not at rest; that part of our soul that is perhaps that part that always pulls at us to move in a different direction, or to follow a different path.
Passover comes at about the half-way part of the Jewish year. It is a great opportunity to assess how far we have grown in this year and what still remains unfulfilled. Maybe it is that “stranger” that is calling to us to not fall in to complacency. Maybe it is that part of our soul that remains unfulfilled, searching in our spiritual wilderness for truth and wholeness. Just something to think about while waiting for the soup!
Have a wonderful holiday.
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.