The celebration of Passover during a trying time

The celebration of Passover during a trying time
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By Rabbi Mark Blazer, Special to The Signal

Many are familiar with the story of Passover, the Exodus from Egypt.  Each year we recount how our ancestors were liberated at this time of year.  In Hebrew Egypt is called Mitzrayim, the “Narrow Place.” 

As we all know, this Passover will be unlike any holiday season most of us have ever experienced. This year, we are most definitely constrained, we don’t have to imagine it as much as usual. In a sense, the holiday speaks to us exactly where we are now, in a time and place of constriction and restriction.  

For people around the world, the spring season is a time to contemplate the days ahead. For our ancestors, this early harvest season was the heart of an economic system where financial security and a family’s very survival depended on what happened in these crucial weeks. For many of us, this Passover, we feel a sense of uncertainty like no other time before. 

Every year we place an egg on our Seder plate as a symbol of potential. It is a subtle, yet powerful reminder that Passover is a celebration of rebirth. The holiday teaches us to have faith that no matter how terrible our situation, we must not lose hope. Remember, while the story of Passover begins with people enslaved, it concludes with songs of freedom. 

Toward the end of Passover Seder meals around the world, we take a moment to open our doors and welcome the prophet Elijah. In our tradition, the prophet is the messenger of the Messianic Era, and it is his honor to announce the arrival of a time of peace, health and security for all. Some holidays it seems so far off.   

Yet, the next words we say are: “Ani ma’amin b’emunah shelyamah … ” I believe in a perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah, and although he may tarry, nevertheless, I wait every day for that day to come.

I believe in a perfect faith that, while this battle we are in right now makes it seem distant, the day will come when each person, everywhere, will live without illness, free from fear, in a world at peace. I believe. 

Rabbi Mark Blazer is the rabbi of Temple Beth Ami in Santa Clarita. 

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