Ezra Nine: Passover

“For we are slaves, and in our servitude our God as not forsaken us, and He has extended loving-kindness upon us before the kings of Persia, to give us life, to exalt the House of our God and to erect its ruins, and to give us a fence in Judea and in Jerusalem (Ezra 9:10).” We’re just over a week away from Passover, which is my favorite holiday of the year. I love the rituals of the seder, the whole family being together, and the mindfulness of living a whole week with different standards and practices than the rest of the year. But one part of the holiday that I always struggle with is the idea of seeing ourselves as though we had personally been freed from Egypt. I’ve participated in, and even facilitated activities that involve individuals describing what they feel enslaved by and how they can liberate themselves this year. But it always feels inappropriate, particularly when the answers are ‘homework,’ or ‘expectations,’ and there are so many actual tragedies in the world, including modern slavery. So I don’t know how to actually relate to this on any level, but this verse made me think a lot about how for so many generations, the Jewish people have experienced the true horrors of oppression, and as the Pesach holiday approaches, I want to hold all of that close to me as I appreciate the privilege that makes it only an exercise for me.

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