March 29, 2018
Dear Friend of Israel,
This week, Christians have been preparing for the solemnity of Good Friday and anticipating the joy of Easter. And Jews are preparing to observe one of the most important holidays of the Jewish year – Passover.
Passover recalls the biblical Exodus, when Moses led the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land -- Israel. It was a sign of God's favor toward His chosen people, and marked the birth of the Jewish people as a nation.
The primary observance for Jews on Passover is the seder meal, a ritual reenactment of the Exodus. The Bible says that on Passover we are to tell the story of God's redemption of our ancestors from Egyptian bondage. The seder is the way in which we fulfill this obligation. In fact, more than simply retelling the story, we are to feel as if we ourselves experienced the pain of slavery and joy of liberation.
During Passover Jews also observe a number of dietary restrictions. Matzah, unleavened, cracker-like bread, is the only form of bread Jews may eat. In fact, we are told that leaven may not even be in our possession (Exodus 12:19) Thus, the days just prior to Passover are a flurry of activity, as we thoroughly clean the house, searching for leavened products in every nook and cranny.
Passover is a time for Jewish families and friends to come together, bound by fellowship and devotion to God. And as we approach this holy time, I want to thank all of you for your faithful support of Israel and the work of The Fellowship. The Passover story reminds us that God is still with us through our trials and challenges – and how comforting it is to know that today the Jewish people also have friends like you who will stand with us!
Whether you are Jewish or Christian, my prayer is that your holidays will be filled with joy – the joy the Psalmist spoke of when he said, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence” (Psalm 16:11).
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein