Passover seder plate

I’m going to be busy guiding through Passover, thank God, and so I won’t be putting out a podcast or posting again until after the holiday. But this morning I was looking briefly at the news and was getting upset. An 85 year old Holocaust survivor was stabbed and burned in her apartment in Paris. Hamas is preparing up to a hundred thousand people to march on our border this Friday on the eve of the Passover holiday, with Hezbollah, Syria, and ultimately Iran waiting in the wings should things get hairy. But I was reminded of the strength of this time of year, the Hebrew month of Nissan, the time of our freedom and our joy, when we went out from the hand of bondage and trusted God to lead us fearlessly into the future. So here are some songs to help us all get in a better frame of mind.

The first is Yonatan Razel’s hauntingly beautiful melody for ‘V’hi she’amdah,’ part of the text of the Passover Haggadah which Chabad.org translates as,

And this (Hashem’s blessings and the Torah) is what kept our fathers and what keeps us surviving. For, not only one arose and tried to destroy us, rather in every generation they try to destroy us, and Hashem saves us from their hands.

This reminds us that we are not dependent solely on natural means for our survival, but that the eternal people survives against all odds, despite nature, thanks to our covenant with the Creator of the Universe.

But sometimes the dulcimer tones of Yonatan Razel just don’t do it. Sometimes we need a tune with a bit more chutzpah. For that, we have this wonderfully psychedelic take on the same concept by Naftali Kalfa, in English, which is my go to song/video when I’m reminded of just how many people around these parts are waiting to get my head on a platter at the earliest opportunity.

And yet, there are times when one has to spring into action, and they just need a good fight song. I’ve got you covered for that too. When Bon Jovi visited Israel a couple of years ago, he told a packed audience in Tel Aviv that this should be our fight song. I take it as a compliment.

And now that I’ve got you all worked up, I want to note, that life in Israel goes on as normal. Our economy is booming. Personal safety is actually better than the US despite terrorism thanks to our extremely low violent crime rate. The tourist sites are full and we were just ranked the 11th happiest country in the world (with the USA at 18th). Come on in, the water’s fine!

I’d like to wish you a kosher and joyous holiday. May it be celebrated in peace and in sanctity. May it draw us near to our Creator and to each other. May it bring about the ultimate redemption of the whole world to worship God at His House, a house of prayer for all nations in Jerusalem.

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