While some of us enjoyed our seders at home with our families, others did not. In Nepal, where the world’s largest seder takes place, it was a festive scene for mostly Israeli post-Army travelers far from home. In the Ukrainian town of Donetsk, a city still in a war zone, Chabad rabbis, as in Nepal, are making Passover possible by importing under tenuous conditions matzah and aid packages. And in Poland, Chabad is also facilitating the first seder in the Warsaw ghetto in 76 years for families of Holocaust survivors.
But hate is not dead.
In eastern Moscow, Russia’s largest yeshiva was set ablaze and vandalized with swastikas hours before its first seder. The previous night in Winnipeg, a woman was attacked and sent to the hospital and the interior of a café vandalized with swastikas as well. And in Poland, residents beat and burned an effigy of Judas which heavily resembled a Hasidic Jewish man to celebrate Easter.
But do not be mistaken., Hate is not limited to those that despise Jews.
This morning we woke to news of how over 200 were killed, numerous more injured when Christians were targeted in eight coordinated bombings on churches and hotels on Easter Sunday. Though no one has claimed responsibility, seven have been arrested so far. This inconceivable attack took place only weeks after three black churches were set afire in Louisiana. A white deputy’s son was charged with burning them down.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers trying to get to the root of hate held hearings, all the while pointing fingers at extremists on each other’s side. What they seemed to miss is that hate is everywhere. Anger is everywhere. Intolerance is everywhere.
Some fan the flames more, it is true. And some act on their hate while others only harbor their anger and resentment inside. But anyone who does not look inside himself, and into the ideologies he supports, to find and root out intolerance wherever it is hiding is doing himself a disservice.
Why can’t people live and let live?
If each of use pledged to follow the Golden Rule, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, or to not do to others what we would not have them do unto us, think about what a better world this would be.
Don’t just think about it. Do it.
Think before you speak, before you act, before your words hurt others. Put yourself in others’ shoes. Picture yourself on the receiving end of your thoughts, your words.
And then edit yourself.
Try it for a day, a week, a month. And then let me know what you think. Can you feel the air around you getting lighter? The improved atmosphere should also allow you to make room for another personal rule of mine – Be thankful. Look at every day as a gift and not as part of a world that owes you.
Last year, I wrote about another seder essential, the song Dayenu. “By ending each stanza with dayenu, by pausing to acknowledge what was done and what might not have been done, this particular ritual exemplifies another value I hold dear – gratitude.” I continued, “Once we fully internalize that no one owes us anything, then we can more fully appreciate both who is in our life and all that is good in it….Because at any point along the way, no matter what others have done for us, it would’ve been enough. Dayenu.”