Happy Passover! Kind of. How can I say this without sounding rude? I probably can’t, so here goes. I hope you don’t enjoy your Passover seder as much as you usually do. In fact, I hope it leaves you feeling empty. Okay, if I’m being honest I’d have to change “feeling empty” to, I hope you get up from your seder table feeling a big fat void.
Because that’s the way I feel. Passover 2014 is here, but the Temple is not. And I feel heartbroken. I feel a big fat void.
Don’t get me wrong. It is a beautiful thing that you remember and celebrate a deliverance that happened so long ago. But the deliverance that you are celebrating was just a first step. Yes, your people were given freedom, but for what? Wasn’t that freedom supposed to be a means to a particular end?
Surely it’s no coincidence that one of the first things Moses and the entire assembly “sing” about after crossing the Sea of Reeds is building the Temple. And as you know, they weren’t just singing. A “song” in the Torah is a momentary glimpse of how everything, past, present, and future is connected. It is a flash of realization of how all the pieces of the puzzle of life fit together. And what is the first thing they realized during this flash of revelation? The reason they were delivered was so that they could build their God a Temple. Really. It’s right there in black and white in the Torah.
Then Moses and the Children of Israel chose to sing this song to HaShem, and they said the following: I shall sing to HaShem for He is exalted above the arrogant, having hurled horse with its rider into the sea. The might and vengeance of God was salvation for me. This is my God and I will build Him a Sanctuary.
Moses and all the Children of Israel realized that leaving Egypt was just the first step of redemption. And that redemption would be incomplete until a Temple stood for their God.
So when you end your seder by exclaiming, “Next year in Jerusalem!” I’m begging you to mean it this time. I mean really, really mean it. Push your chair back from the seder table with a new desire, a new determination, a madness really. A madness that can only be remedied by the stone and mortar of a rebuilt Temple.
And ask yourself, “Why in Jerusalem?” And the answer, of course, is because that’s the way Passover was intended to be observed – in Jerusalem, at the Temple. Anything else is just going through the motions.
I need you to share my despair. To wake frightened in the middle of the night; frightened of what your life and that of your children might become without the Temple. To have a hard time holding back tears as you see and hear of the horrible things people are enduring around the world. And to realize that all of the darkness consuming lives can be attributed to one thing – there is no Temple standing. The portal for the Divine Presence remains in ruins.
You share the DNA of Moses. I don’t. You are the ones with the Divine mission that Moses began. You are the only ones that can finish that mission. You are the ones who can open the portal to let The Light fill the earth again. Isn’t that worth abandoning the seder table for? Please hurry. The world can hardly wait.
Hopeful Among the Nations