Passover 5784-2024 This is the Story of a Hurricane

Ever since October 7th, our world has been forever altered but long before that the winds of change have been blowing. In one generation, snail mail turned into email, rotary phones turned into cell phones, and Blackberry turned into an iPhone. There’s uncertainty concerning politics, gender, marriage, support for Israel and many other issues that were, for the most part, straightforward for decades. Whether you think it’s positive or negative is inconsequential; the main point is that change brings uncertainty, which can be a challenge for many people. We’ve been knocked us all off kilter and we still live with the stress it brought to us all—and that’s why the message of Passover is so crucial.
When the Mayflower left England, it brought the first organized group (that we are aware of) of people to America. This was a great historical event but its details are unknown to most Englishmen. Do they know precisely when it departed, what the travelers ate and how they cooked their pre-departure food? How many people were on the ship; what time did it set sail? The overwhelming majority of Englishman and Americans can’t answer these questions, yet there was another, much bigger journey whose details have been preserved; the Exodus from Egypt. Jews in Russia, America, Asia, and Africa, and anywhere else in the world there are Jews, can tell you what the Israelites ate thousands of years ago; roasted, not cooked, meat that was roasted well, not rare. They know what time of night they left (midnight), as well as how many people left Egypt.
What’s the message? The Jewish people have been transmitting a detailed message for thousands of years. Even far off communities such as Yemen who didn’t have contact with other communities have transmitted the same message as Jews who grew up in Paris. We have strong roots going back more than 3300 years and a continuous history of Jews passing on those roots to the next generation.
When a tree is freshly planted, its roots are shallow. When a strong wind or rain comes, those roots can be easily uprooted but a tree with deep, long roots can withstand the worst of storms. We Jews have long, deep, and extremely strong roots that go from one end of the globe to another. Our history has been made by people who never forgot the Jewish past. We kept the longing for Zion in our collective consciousness for close to 2000 years after we were expelled from that Land. No other nation in world history has returned to their homeland after 2000 years but we did because we never forgot. We mention the Land of Israel in our prayers as well as fulfilling precepts specifically enacted so that we would never forget Jerusalem and the Temple that stood there. You need deep roots to revive an ancient language (Hebrew) and survive without your own land or army—and be hated by virtually every nation in whose land you live. Our roots have allowed us to remain standing when hurricanes and tornadoes (Greece, Rome, Communist Russia, Germany, …it’s a long list) attempted to blow us over but we remain standing while they got swept away in history.
The idea of the night of the Seder is to talk about our roots and make sure the next generation is made aware of them and give them the gift of taking pride in knowing where they come from. But even if one is alone for the Seder or with other adults, you still have a mitzvah to say the Haggadah and relive the story and strengthen your roots.
The winds of change do not intimidate us and, still, the night of the Seder night is not just a discussion of the past; we also talk about the future. No matter how difficult a period of one’s life is, as long as (s)he sees a future, there is hope, the antidote to negative thoughts.  The Seder ends with Next year in Jerusalem, a yearning for the future based on our past. 
Global antisemitism is higher than ever as are the unsettling changes in the political and social order around us but we need not be frightened. As Mark Twain famously said, “The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts.” Seder nights are opportunities to transmit the message our people have transmitted for thousands of years. It doesn’t take any knowledge to strengthen the roots, just follow the well-trodden path of the Haggadah. By doing so, you will be taking one of the first steps in being able to weather the hurricane of uncertainty in which we all live.                                                                                                  Chag Samayach/Happy Passover