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Reb Lisa's Message

April 12, 2023

Avadim Hayinu, ata bein chorin. We were slaves in Egypt, and now we are free.

We sing these words into being every year during Passover. And around the seder table, we delve deeply into what it means to be enslaved, and what it means to be free. We wrestle with the brutality and bitterness of oppression–historically and also in the present. We celebrate the joy of liberation, and bask in the luxury of our many freedoms.

We also acknowledge that our freedom brings with it the responsibility to work for the liberation of all. Until all are free, none of us is truly free.

We entered Passover last Wednesday with the tragic school shooting in Nashville on our minds. And now we prepare to end Passover with another shooting, this time in Louisville Kentucky, weighing on our hearts.

Until all are free, none of us is truly free. This includes freedom from worry and anxiety.

Many are burdened by the ongoing stress of gun violence all around us. Our children carry a deep worry in their bones–school is potentially an unsafe place. They wonder, rightfully so, will my school be next?

In the midst of this holiday of hope and redemption, we try desperately to make sense of the bloodshed and loss of innocent lives. We wonder, what does it mean to be free, truly? The disconnect is harrowing.

So, we lean into the possibility of miracles. We pray that we make it through this dark and narrow place. We dig deep for the courage to keep on hoping, even though we are weary and threadbare from grief. We remember, from our very own story of bondage, that freedom sometimes takes a long time, longer than we may be around to experience. And since we also know from the Passover story that liberation is possible, we never give up insisting that it be so.

L’chaim! May we have the chutzpah to keep on insisting. And may the inspiration from this Passover holiday fuel our dedication to “make the captive free.”

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