As Passover, our new year of Jewish peoplehood, is about to begin, this journey of #blogexodus concludes by looking into our Jewish future. One of the great joys and privileges of being a Rabbi is that I am constantly surround by the assurance of our Jewish future in our classrooms, on our Bima, on retreats and during the summer at camp. In the eyes of our children and young adults I am constantly blessed to peer into our future as a people and to know that our future’s so bright. (Half my friends are now saying “I gotta wear shades” :-). )
Yesterday I had one such moment as I sat with a Bar Mitzvah student and his mother to discuss his Torah portion, Bo. Found in the book of Exodus, Parshat Bo tells of the final plagues, including the plague of darkness. The student’s mother prompted him to tell me about the insight he had had regarding the plague of darkness. He said that when he read that the Egyptians were enveloped in darkness, while the Israelites were surrounded by light, he decided that it wasn’t actual light and darkness, but a spiritual light and darkness. He explained that it seemed to him that what happened was that the Egyptians were enveloped in the darkness of despair, while the Israelites were bathed in the light of hope. His smile alone said so much in terms of our Jewish future. He had read Torah, he had learned Torah and now he owned Torah. And in the process, he had discovered the essence of our Jewish future: Hope.
Hope is what carried us from Egyptian bondage into freedom in the wilderness and ultimately to the completion of our redemption with our return to the Promised Land. Hope kept us connected in the diaspora, sustained us through the darkness of the Shoah and fueled the rebuilding of our Jewish homeland whose very anthem is Hatikvah, The Hope. And hope is what we see in the eyes of a Bar Mitzvah student who has taken ownership of Torah, in a Religious School student who can’t wait to get into her Kindergarten classroom and in the High School aide waiting to greet her. And hope for the future is the gift given us all by our Confirmands who will close out their Passover celebrations by beginning the countdown to Shavuot; the day when they, like those who came before them, will stand again at Sinai and commit themselves to carrying our hopes for the future in their very capable young hands.
May your Passover be filled with sweetness and joy, happiness and hope. Chag Sameach!