Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday)
In the first week of April we saw the heaviest rocket/ mortar activity since “Operation Cast Lead.” Over a 72-hour period seven communities in the south were repeatedly targeted with over 120 rockets and mortars. On April 7th a school bus was hit with an anti-tank missile, critically injuring a young teenage boy who has since died from his injuries.
During that week, residents were repeatedly instructed to remain indoors and near safe rooms. Some areas saw schools close and those that remained open kept children indoors. On the 8th 450 school children were evacuated with a security force escort.
On the evening of the 10th, the militant groups of Hamas announced a ceasefire which was broken less than a week later with two Grad rockets fired at Ashdod. And moments ago as I write this “Update” the “seva adom” is heard here in Sderot, once again interrupting lives. And so the cycle continues.
On Sunday the 10th, we enjoyed a “Day of Instruction” with some of the other storefront volunteers at the Joshua Fund’s warehouse in Beit Shemesh. Instructors from the IDF and Home Front Command shared useful information in preparedness and first responder techniques.
The pass few weeks have been a marathon of activities and preparation as we move into this Passover season. I look forward to experiencing my first Passover Seder this evening. The Israelites waiting for deliverance and redemption in Egypt is a central element of the story that is to unfold. The hope in Ha’Shem who is the only One who can bring deliverance is also a crucial element.
There is not only a sense of celebration at what Ha’Shem has done in the past, there is also an eager anticipation of what Ha’Shem will continue to do to bring deliverance to a world that still groans under its slavery to sin, and awaits it final redemption. The traditional saying “next year in Jerusalem” is an expression not only of the faithfulness of Ha’Shem in the past, but of faith and hope in Ha’Shem’s future as He continues to work out His redemption in the world. Jerusalem is really a symbol of the restoration of all things for which both Jews and Christians eagerly awaits.
So, while the Seder is a celebration of deliverance already accomplished, there is a strand throughout the Seder that recognizes the yet to be fulfilled promises of Ha'Shem that all creation will be restored and all oppression, sin, and evil destroyed. This demension is not negative, but is wonderfully positive, the expression of a faith and hope in Ha'Shem's future based on who Ha'Shem is as revealed in His past actions. We can trust that promise of future deliverance because He has delivered! And so I say to all of you... Next year in Jerusalem!