Passover is one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays, often bringing together extended family to engage in the tradition of the Pesach seder. However, for the past two years, many folks have been unable to host or attend these large gatherings.
God-willing, this year is different. So much so that when we reach the question “Why is this night different from all other nights?” I pray that many of us will have the opportunity to add, “because we can all be together again.”
While we hold this tremendous joy in our hearts, we also know that hate still plagues our world. Yet Judaism built a system in which the cycle of the holidays carries us forward no matter our circumstances.
Just like the Jews of Ukraine found opportunities to read and hear the megillah on Purim, so, too, will they find ways to host and attend Sedarim. Judaism provides constant reminders to surround ourselves with community.
This Pesach, while we hold in our hearts the disruptions that plague our world and the hate that has spread, we can also leave space to be joyful in our gatherings. We are complex beings, holding many emotions simultaneously.
We must allow ourselves to celebrate, while also knowing that there is still work to be done. In order for us to no longer need to say, “Next Year in Jerusalem,” we must continue to fight for a better world.
Rabbi Rachael is an associate rabbi at Temple Emanu-El.