March 21, 2015 - 1 Nissan 5775
This Shabbat is Shabbat HaHodesh where will welcome in Spring (with a little snow) and prepare for Pesach with the new month of Nissan. Some of the women in the congregation began the spiritual process of preparing for Pesach last night with a beautiful women's seder.
The Israelites go from slavery to freedom, all in the hopes of eventually reaching the Promised land, Eretz Yisrael. Israel is an important part of our narrative as Jews. At the beginning of the telling section of the seder, the Maggid section, we read Ha Lachma Anya where we say "this year we are here, next year in the land of Israel." We conclude the seder with the words, "Next year in Jerusalem!"
There is no question that the land of Israel is central to our Jewish experience. I ran into a friend at the gym who was speaking so passionately about Israel this week and had many thoughts about the recent election. Responding to his enthusiasm, I commented, "Oh, you must have spent a lot of time in Israel." I learned that he had been only once but the connection he felt was so powerful and so strong, that it didn't matter how many times he had visited.
I imagine many of us had strong reactions to Israel's election results this week both positive and negative. No matter where our personal politics stand, we can agree that Israel means a lot to us. Israel's democracy is an expression of freedom. As my rabbi, Rabbi Steven Lindemann, says, "Passover doesn't make sense without the Promised Land."
This Shabbat and every Shabbat, as we prepare spiritually and physically for Pesach, let's remember how much Israel means to us and how important it is to our hearts.