During my year in Jerusalem as part of my studies at HUC-JIR, professors warned me that the spring would consist of “Purim, Passover, and packing.” No sooner does the year begin than we celebrate Purim, and before you know it, Passover arrives, and then, all of the sudden, you’re packing to leave to go back stateside. The spring, they said, always seems to go so quickly, and our holidays seem to come before you know it.
This year, it seems to me, that everything seems to be happening so very quickly. We just celebrated an incredible Purim together as a community and its already time to start thinking about Passover! It’s hard to believe that the time to stock up on matzah has already arrived! As I begin to think about preparing for this holiday, the themes of these two holidays have been on my mind. During Purim, we celebrate the strength of Esther who stood up for herself and her people. During Passover, we celebrate a different kind of strength — the strength it takes to walk into the unknown and know that, together, we find our paths forward.
There are so many times in our lives, each and every day, that we have to walk into the unknown and trust in ourselves, in God, and in one another, to navigate the road before us. During the month leading up to high holidays, we do a great deal of soul searching as we begin the year anew. This year, I’d like to suggest that we do the same in preparation for Passover. Just as our ancestors stood at the shores of the sea, staring at what seemed to be an impossible situation, we too find ourselves face to face with unrealistic odds each and every day. It takes tremendous strength and faith to believe that we can, and that we will, overcome. It takes mental and spiritual preparedness to confront and conquer the impossible. But we can, and we will. But we have to give ourselves the gift of time and patience. We need to do the soul searching, find the inner strength, and reach out to others when we need help.