Leaving is easy. Arriving is hard

“In one hand hold your dreams.  In the other hold your accomplishments.” Shimon Peres used to say:  “As long as your dreams exceed your accomplishments, then you’re still young.”

Dreaming isn’t easy during difficult times.  Aspirations feel unaffordable when we feel awash in reversals.  It is for such times that forty biblical years of wilderness wandering can offer timely guidance.

A swift Exodus from Egypt frames the foundation for our weeklong unleavened diet.  Yet our ancestors quickly became nostalgic for Egypt’s predictability.  Problems for the wilderness generation deepened because they confronted them by looking backward rather than forward.   For this reason their prolonged arrival became so much harder than their departure.

“The result was that nearly an entire generation suffered the fate of Abraham’s father” shares Paul Greenberg from our community. “They knew how to leave but not how to arrive.  They experienced exodus not entry.”

Biblical passages for the Passover’s final days begin at the shores of the Red Sea and vector toward Isaiah’s messianic vision.  Why launch with our formative redemption in order to culminate with our final one?  In order to keep us focused forward.  To keep us dreaming big.

We stand as tall as our ideals.  What is true for individual lives applies to Statecraft.  May lofty aspirations keep us reaching, feeling refreshed, and ever young.

About the Author
Rabbi William Hamilton has served as rabbi (mara d'atra) of Kehillath Israel in Brookline, MA since 1995.
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