The holiday of Pesach begins tonight.
Six years ago we wrote in this space that Pesach is the only holy day on our religious calendar whose core commandment is the coming together of family and friends and invited guests for a festive meal and for the retelling of the exodus of our forebears from their slavery in Egypt. We celebrate and rejoice with the people we see around the table and we tenderly recall those whom we cannot see, or will ever see again, except in our hearts.
The holiday stands out as the brightest of the shining stars in the whirling constellation of Jewish life and the eternal mystery of Jewish history. The exodus from Egypt is the defining moment of our history. It is the foundation stone of our peoplehood. We recount the miraculous departure from ancient Egypt each day, every day, in our prayers and in all our ritual practices. For us, it was the beginning of the process that forged our purpose as a people.
Perhaps that is why the Haggadah ordains that, irrespective of the level of one’s learning and wisdom, everyone at the table is expected to recount or imagine taking part in the great exodus narrative. It is simply that important to ongoing Jewish life.
As we also wrote some six years ago, by enabling an affordable Jewish education for our children and for all our children throughout the generations, we will ensure that the Exodus story is retold and our sense of peoplehood is preserved for all eternity.
Be joyful at the seder. Rejoice. Enjoy its significance. Remember everyone.
Chag Pesach samayach.
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Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),
April 15, 2022