Southern & Jewish
Southern & Jewish celebrates the stories, people, and experiences – past and present – of Jewish life in the American South. Hosted by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, posts come from educators, students, rabbis, parents, artists, and many other “visitors-to and daily-livers-of” the Southern Jewish experience. From road trips to recipes to reflections, we’ll explore a little bit of everything – well, at least all things Southern and/or Jewish. Shalom, y’all!
Every year at Passover, we are commanded to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. Moreover, we are commanded to experience the story as if it happened to us. As if we were there. When we retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt, it is our story.
How intimidating the wilderness was! As the Israelites of old stumbled their way toward freedom, they did not know what to expect. We have the benefit of knowing what came next in their story, something they could not possibly know. But we do not know what comes next in our own story, today—and in many ways, we, too, are wandering in the wilderness. Stumbling our way toward something hopefully far better than what we know now. Overwhelmed at times by both the peril and promise of an uncertain future.
This aspect of the story feels truly familiar. How intimidating the wilderness remains! Like the Israelites of old, we live with hope and fear side by side. Like the Israelites of old, we will make mistakes along the way. Like the Israelites of old, we cannot know what lies ahead—but we know we cannot simply remain where we are. As we retell the story this year, let us remember something else that the Israelites of old experienced: a growing sense of community, every step of our journey. For while many things are uncertain, this we know to be true: the only way to walk through the wilderness is to do so together.
Ken y’hi ra’tzon – may this be God’s will. Amen.
This reflective reading was written by Beth Kander-Dauphin for the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. A formatted, seder-table-ready version of this reflective reading is available on the ISJL’s Passover resources page.