Jews are commanded to celebrate Pesach each spring to remember the Exodus when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt over 3200 years ago. The Exodus is one of the defining moments of Jewish history and identity. The key way to observe this commandment is to tell the Pesach story at a Seder sitting around a dinner table with friends and family.
The Jewish disposition toward deep historical and philosophical thought is quite evident in this Seder ritual. The Seder however encourages more than a retelling of the Exodus story. It seeks to have each Jew experience the events portrayed as if he or she had been alive then, as if each had also been a slave and then was freed.
Although the Seder focuses on telling an old story, it also encourages thinking outside of time and space. When one participates in a Seder, he or she is not just celebrating with the persons at the table. One is joining Jews around the world celebrating this year and those who have celebrated the Seder through the generations. Time ceases to exist and one connects to many, many others. Whatever one's current circumstances or problems, the Seder is a place to immerse oneself in a much large and greater phenomenon. It underscores the great chain of being that is the Jewish People and Judaism. It gives hope even in desperate times as it marks an inter-generational solidarity.
Pesach begins this year on Monday night April 10th. I wish you now Chag Sameach for the holiday. The IJC will hold a Community Seder led by Rabbi Ira that first night at our regular location. Whether or not you are attending, I wish to remind you that for a moment time will stand still and we will all be united in spirit.