Rachael’s Thoughts at the End of Pesach

We are entering the final days of Passover and they are distinctly different from the first days.  

At the beginning of the holiday, we celebrate our freedom and redemption from Egypt, but as the week progresses we also progress through the Egypt narrative to find ourselves at the Red Sea for these last few days.  While the first days of Passover celebrate our exodus from Egypt, these last days celebrate our birth as a nation, having walked through a parted Red Sea.  But we are told to limit our praises of God in these last few days.  We are told to say only half of the Hallel prayer because God does not want us to praise that our redemption came at a heavy cost of human lives.  While the sea parted for us, it drowned the Egyptian army that was chasing us.

The midrash tells us that when Israel emerged safely on dry land, the angels started singing a song of praise to God, but God stops them and says: ‘My children are drowning in the sea, and you sing me praises?!’  We learn to never rejoice at the suffering of any human being, whether friend or foe.  

Bruriah, a sage Jewish woman who lived in the 2nd century, taught her husband, Rabbi Meir, that a victory over evil is to have it transform into good.  The animal within us wants to vanquish the enemy, the soul within us craves for a transformation.  The last days of Passover remind us to leave the holiday guided by our souls – we say only half a Hallel because so many people could not change and could only be stopped by death.

The world today is still a challenging place with aggressors and innocent victims caught in warfare.  Passover leaves us with the sensitivity to pray that evil transforms itself within each person, if it cannot transform itself within the leadership.

      Moadim l’simcha – wishing everyone a wonderful end of Passover.

  Shabbat shalom,


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