Thursday, 28 April 2016

Feeling Tired at the End of Pesach? So Come to Shul

The Yom Tov of the end of Pesach marks the moment the Children of Israel cross the Sea - the last stage of the Exodus. What is so remarkable about the Biblical narrative is the choser emunah - the lack of faith demonstrated. Just days after the majesty of the plagues and the moment of the Exodus itself the Children of Israel take one look at the Egyptian army advancing behind them and give up, 'were there no graves in Egypt that you had to take us into the desert to kill us?' But it works out, another glorious miracle, and then the glorious Shira - the Song of Sea we will enjoy tomorrow.

Perhaps we can learn something from the glorious run of sacred time we are experiencing so many thousands of years later. We've prepared, we've cleaned and koshered and cooked and stayed up too late and ... now we are tired. And we haven't even been schlepping our worldly possessions through the desert with flat dough baking on our backs. There are two responses to feeling tired. One is to give up, moan and decide we are no longer able to bother. The other is to explore the edge of that exhaustion, push a little more to find what happens when we demand of ourselves a celebration of our freedom. It turns out there is much more to find. There is so much more for which to be grateful. And it turns out that the miracles to come are even greater than the miracles that have allowed us to reach this point.

Rambam, in his Guide to the Perplexed, weaves a metaphor of spiritual seeking. There is a King inside a palace, but most of the people don't try and enter, and of those that do most give up in the antechambers. The point of the Yom Tov at the end of Pesach is to enquire who is still prepared to seek, still prepared to celebrate and still prepared to discover the miracles of our freedom.
We will be celebrating on Friday with an egalitarian service. 

On Shabbat, in both the mikdash and the Minyan Chadash, we be serenaded by the Song of Songs and the service will also feature Yizkor. I look forward to seeing you there,
Chag Sameach,
Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Jeremy

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