The confluence of Passover and Easter during this coronavirus onslaught gives one pause to consider the meaning of the holidays coming at this time, how we can draw strength from their observance and then find a way to be hopeful for the future.
To be sure this is, first and foremost, a time for introspection. For those who believe, God is telling us something by bringing down this plague on the entire world. Far be it for me to attempt to interpret God’s logic, but one thing most of us have realized during this enforced isolation from work, friends, family and many of the creature comforts we take for granted, is that at the end of the day, without good health, none of those are very important. They should never be taken for granted as they can disappear in a flash, as we have seen.
If we learn that from this experience and work to keep our lives in proper balance after this is all over, we will have internalized at least one obvious lesson. No doubt there are others as well
But how do we become hopeful during such a depressing period? The fact is that the message of this holiday season is nothing less than a directive that we do just that, that we look to the future with hope and understand that hope has not been cancelled along with everything else that has been either closed or indefinitely postponed.
The fact is that scripture demands that we draw on our logic and mine our psyche in order to be hopeful. The Book of Proverbs (Ch 18. V 14) states: “The spirit of man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” So, we are told quite clearly that to emerge whole from this crisis we need to first develop a spirit of hopefulness. Earlier this week I read a piece by someone who referred to the wise words of his grandfather who would say, in Yiddish, Trucht gut vet zein gut….think good and it will be good. Of course that does not always work but it is a good start.
During the Passover Seder on Wednesday night we normally sing the words “Next Year in Jerusalem” as our people have done since the destruction of the Temple. My wife and I, celebrating alone as directed, did so again this week. But Rabbi Naomi Levy of Nashuva, a soulful Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, has written additional verses to be added to that line which capture what we should hope for:
- Next Year in Health!
- Next Year Free from Worry!
- Next Year with Family and Friends!
- Next Year Feasting!
- Next Year Rejoicing!
- Next Year in Laughter!
- Next Year in Love!
- Next Year filled with Song and Celebration!
- Next Year with a Vaccine!
- Next Year in Abundance!
- Next Year in Peace!
- Next Year in Blessings!
May it all be so and may everyone have a meaningful holiday experience from which we will all emerge hopeful and uplifted.