search
Dovid Vigler

What to Tell Your Grandkids about Israel at the Seder

Image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/C3z4FgMtR6A/

The amazing thing about anti-Semitism
is that it never fails to fail!

Rarely do we get to experience an open miracle, but on Saturday night April 13, 2024, we could feel the protective hand of G-d, not as a miracle of ancient history, but unfolding in real-time! After years of rising nuclear threats from Iran, empowering her violent proxies and her belligerent calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, Iran had finally made its move. And it was fierce.

We heard the ominous news as Shabbos departed at nightfall. At 1:42 AM Israel time, over one hundred cruise missiles from Iran approached Israel’s airspace. Simultaneously, several hundred more drones and ballistic missiles were fired from Yemen, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Over 60 tons of explosives were fired at Israel. Yet amazingly, only one percent of the threats penetrated Israeli airspace.

Physics Professor M. Abitbol, who worked in Israel’s Defense Industry, declared the events of April 14, 2024, as “nothing short of an open miracle, not less than the scale of the splitting of the Red Sea… The managers of the defense industries, who develop and manufacture these systems, guarantee no more than 90% success! And we all saw, with our own eyes 99.9% !!!”…The likelihood that everything—but really everything—works out, does not exist in complex systems like the defense systems that were used to defend Israel from the massive Iranian attack.”

This was despite the fact that they were never able to be tested. We are grateful to the IDF and our US, UK, European, and other allies who assisted us in protecting our skies from attack. But the results of this vicious attack undoubtedly point to Divine Providence thwarting the efforts of our enemies and blessing those of our defenders.

How appropriate it is, that this Shabbos is known as Shabbos HaGadol—the Great Shabbos—as it commemorates the miracles that allowed the Jewish hostages to break free from Egyptian slavery just 3336 years ago.

As we gather around the Seder tables this Monday and Tuesday night, we will have so much to tell our children and grandchildren. It’s been a year of horrific suffering for our people, both in Israel and around the world. As our kids might be feeling intimidated by their peers in Public Schools and in College, there’s a powerful message that we’d like to ask you to consider sharing with them, to lift their spirits and strengthen their resolve.

Since the Seder is the night of questions, and many are familiar with the Four Questions at the Seder, ask your guests why this night is called “the Seder.”

The word “Seder” means “order” or “organized,” and Passover Eve is not the only night on the Jewish calendar that is structured. Nights like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have just as much detail, and Shavuos and Simchas Torah are longer, all-night experiences. So, what makes this night different from all other nights to deserve this special title?

The answer to this question could potentially supercharge your Seder conversation, elevating it far beyond the brisket and infusing faith and fortitude into our kids who so desperately need it.

What’s unique about this night is that it creates order—not necessarily for the dinner routine—but for the routes of our lives! When we gather around the table and reflect on 3300 years of Jewish history, we uncover a crystal-clear perspective on the seemingly chaotic patterns of our lives. As we tell the tales of each of our tormentors, from Pharaoh to Farakan and the Babylonians to Bergen-Belsen, it becomes clear that somehow, we’ve managed to outlive them all. Every single one of our abusers has been relegated to entries in Wikipedia and it’s us, the Jews, that write them!

The amazing thing about anti-Semitism is that it never fails to fail!

Since the dawn of our nation, never once has an enemy of ours managed to outlive us—that’s nothing short of remarkable! We are the survivors of history, no matter which way you slice it! Thus, the Seder fills us with the strength, confidence, and perspective to make a “seder”—a clarity of purpose and direction amongst the chaos and anxiety that we are living through currently.

We thus declare in the Haggadah, in answer to the Four Questions: “And this—G-d’s blessings and the Torah—is what kept our fathers and what keeps us surviving. For, not only one arose and tried to destroy us, rather in every generation they try to destroy us, and G-d saves us from their hands.”

Four thousand years ago, our forefather Jacob was promised by G-d that his children would be “like the sands of the Earth (Genesis 28:14).” The great 11th-century sage, Maimonides in his famous “Epistle to Yemen,” interprets this as a prophecy and a promise about anti-Semitism: Far from a promise of quantity, it’s a prophecy about our quality. Just like the ground which is trampled upon by all, the children of Israel will be harassed and persecuted by nearly all their peers. And like the earth, which ultimately buries all those who tread upon her, the Jewish people will outlive all her enemies.

See if you and your kids can count how many regimes have tried to wipe us out throughout history, and where are they now?

Egypt. The Philistines. The mighty Assyrian Empire. The Babylonian Empire. The Persian Empire. The Greek Empire. The Roman Empire. The Crusades (both of them). The Cossacks. The Spanish Empire. Nazi Germany. The Soviet Union. The list seems endless (let us know if we missed anyone) with the most impressive powers of history, all hell-bent on destroying our nation. Yet they are nowhere to be found, and we are 3000 years strong!

We are not the persecuted people—we are the persevering people!

This Pesach, we need to put things into the proper perspective: In every generation, a new threat arises and in every generation, G-d protects us!

We will win this war too!

Though the Seder plate has bitter herbs (twice) and salt water to remind us of all the tears and suffering of our history, the charoses are surprisingly sweet. If it’s supposed to remind us of the bricks that our ancestors made in Egypt through back-breaking labor, wouldn’t it make more sense if it tasted savory or more like sauerkraut? The sweetness of this spread serves to stress to us that everything will be good in the end; if it’s not good, it means that it’s not the end!

Remember that the only difference between a lump of coal and a brilliant diamond is the amount of pressure it endures.

_______________________
Rabbi Dovid Vigler
Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens

6100 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
JewishGardens.com | 561.624.2223

Instagram @JewishGardens
Facebook.com/JewishGardens
YouTube.com/JewishGardens

About the Author
Raised in South Africa and educated in some of the finest Yeshivas in Israel, England, New York, and Australia, Rabbi Dovid Vigler strives to share the beauty and depth of Judaism in a clear, conversational, and down-to-earth manner. Whether in private counseling, relatable sermons, weekly email broadcasts, or in his popular Torah classes on social media, he reaches out to every Jew with unconditional love, patience, and compassion. His inspirational talks and uplifting messages can be found on YouTube.com/JewishGardens and Facebook.com/JewishGardens
Related Topics
Related Posts