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What are we celebrating?

ציור: יואל וקסברגר, מלכות וקסברגר

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Five facts about the celebration before us:

1. At our first Pesach celebration on Seder night, we celebrated leaving Egypt. For our second celebration, known as "the seventh day of Pesach" that begins this evening, we celebrate the splitting of the Red Sea.

2. The commentators explain that until the splitting of the Red Sea, the nation was not completely free. Leaving Egypt was the beginning, but only after our ancestors crossed the sea and were eternally disengaged from the Egyptians who pursued them could they truly begin to be free people.

3. During the journey through the desert, the people articulated many complaints. But now, after safely crossing the sea and being confronted with a new and joyful reality, the people did not speak at all, but sang. There are elevated moments that may only be properly expressed through song. The Children of israel expressed their faith and joy in the "Song of the Sea," which we are accustomed to read during the holiday.

4. Our sages tell us that before crossing the sea, many were under such duress that they became confused. This is a familiar situation, unfortunately. There were many voices full of despair and loss of hope and there was even a group that wanted to return to Egypt.

5. Today, in the midst of the corona crisis, we pray again for a "splitting of the Red Sea." The holiday before us that celebrates this event reminds us that when there was no way out - with the Egyptian army behind us and the Red Sea in front of us - we succeeded in extricating ourselves from a situation much worse than what we face today. Reality can always turn around suddenly and change for the better in the twinkling of an eye.

Have a happy holiday.


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