As we gather around our Seder table we feel both gratitude and grief.
We are grateful for family and friendship, liberty and love.
We grieve, however, for the loved ones we lost since our last seders, for those deprived of liberty, and those who feel unloved.
We are grateful for the freedom to speak out and to freely select our leaders.
Yet we grieve for those who are coerced into silence and have no voice in how they are governed.
We are grateful for the opportunity to welcome new neighbors to our communities and to provide safety to those in need of refuge.
But we grieve for millions more who struggle to survive while our leaders argue over whose duty it is to help them.
We are grateful that we can honestly say: “at least we have saved a few.”
While with grief we are forced to admit that we are not saving nearly enough.
We are grateful to declare “let all who are hungry come and eat.”
Though we confess with grief that there are millions who remain unfed.
We are grateful to rejoice in our liberation from slavery and deliverance from tyrants.
Still we grieve at the recognition that far too many remain perpetually enslaved and brutally tyrannized.
As the Haggadah teaches, “Together they shall be: the matzah of freedom, the maror of slavery.”
“For in the time of freedom there is knowledge of servitude.”
“And in the time of bondage, the hope of redemption.”
Grant, O God that our Seder, this celebration of Passover, proves to be both a sacred fast and a holy feast. As we gather together in gratitude and grief help us to draw goodness from them both.
Baruch Ata Adonai, Ha’Tov V’HaMayteev. Blessed are You O God, the Source of Goodness who calls us to do what is good. And let us say: Amen.
Published by Rabbi David Wirtschafter
David Wirtschafter is the Rabbi of Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, Kentucky. Previously he was rabbi of the Ames Jewish Congregation in Iowa, while also acting as the Visiting Scholar in Jewish Studies and Rabbi-in-Residence at the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at St. John's University, the University of St. Thomas and the College of St. Benedict in Minnesota. Born in Lexington, and raised in Minneapolis, Rabbi Wirtschafter graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in English literature and was ordained by Hebrew Union College in New York. He has served congregations in New Hampshire, New York, California and Iowa. In his spare time, he enjoys playing mandolin, practicing violin with his daughter, following politics, and watching college basketball with his son. He loves the outdoors and whenever he has free time you can find him taking a run or enjoying a walk with his family. View all posts by Rabbi David Wirtschafter