My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely. — Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) 2:14
This month marks one of the most ancient and holiest of Jewish celebrations, Pesach, or Passover. It is a celebration of God’s redemption of His people, Israel, from bondage, and freedom is a theme underlying the celebration. Please enjoy this collection of timeless devotions from my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, on this sacred observance. – Yael Eckstein, President
In recent years, the story of Detroit native James Robertson captured headlines across the world. For years, Robertson had been walking to and from his factory job because his car had broken down and he lacked the funds to buy a new one. So the 56-year-old man walked 21 miles every day, slept for two hours, and then did the whole thing over again. Looking back now, Robertson says that it was his faith and his constant prayer that God would make a way for him to have a brighter future that helped him through the hard times.
And indeed, James Robertson did receive a bright future. College freshman Evan Leedy was so touched by Robertson’s story that he set up an online fundraising page with the goal of raising $5,000 to buy Robertson a car. People were so moved by the story that donations poured in from all over the world until Leedy actively closed the account once it reached $350,000. What’s more, Robertson didn’t even need to use the money to buy a car because a local car dealer gave him a 2015 Ford Taurus — for free!
Overcome with emotion, Robertson told the media, “I am standing proof that prayer works every time, and I want everyone to know that.”
That prayer works is one of the central themes of Passover. In fact, in the daily Jewish prayer service, we read verses that recall the Exodus from Egypt as a reminder and an encouragement that prayer really does work as we pray for our own daily needs. In Exodus 3:7 God says, “I have heard them crying out . . . and I am concerned about their suffering.” This was the turning point — the Israelites cried out to God, He heard them and responded, and with that, the Exodus was underway.
This idea is picked up on in the Song of Songs, which is traditionally read during the Passover holiday. We read, “My dove in the clefts of the rock . . . show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” God was addressing a dove in distress with nowhere to turn, and He told the dove to pray: “Let me hear your voice!”
When you are facing a difficult situation with seemingly no way out, like James Robertson, or the children of Israel trapped at the Red Sea, the solution is to cry out to God in prayer. He is a God Who hears us, Who cares about us, and Who makes a way for us when we cannot find a way on our own.