This Passover, I decided that along with the leavened bread I was biblically forbidden to eat, I would also take a break from my daily intake of world news. I felt I needed to get away from the endless cycle of disturbing headlines, if only for the week-long holiday, and focus on my wife, my children, our extended family and friends, and most importantly, God.
I thought, hoped, and prayed that after seven days of immersing myself in the holiday spirit, I would come out of Passover with a fresh perspective, one in which my conviction to raise a Jewish family in our land, would override any concern of our enemies’ intent, and where my faith in God would overshadow any fear for the future.
When Passover had ended and I dropped my children off at school, I went home, prepared a hot cup of coffee, and ventured onto the first news website I had seen in a week. I would have loved to see the world change along with my perspective, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
In the days following the “historic agreement” between world powers and the Islamic Republic, the news from Iran was predictable.
The latest developments included the Russian announcement to deliver S-300 missiles– one of the most advanced air defense systems in the world – to Iran. Tehran has been eying the S-300 to protect their nuclear facilities from aerial attack for years, yet Russia withheld delivery as long as the international community held Iran in contempt. Now, thanks to the “historic agreement,” Russia has no qualms with selling game-changing weaponry to Iran.
Furthermore, Israeli intelligence has reported that Iran has been stepping up its weapons shipments to Hezbollah and Hamas. And why not? With the tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief the Islamic Republic is set to gain from the agreement, they now have plenty of money to buy weapons for their proxy armies around the Middle East.
As I clicked from one website to the next, and as the news went from bad to worse, I wanted to see if Passover had changed me in some tangible way, if I could now see our broken and troubled world through a new perspective.
On Passover night we read the story of Exodus, a story of highs and lows, of exaltation and despair. In the beginning, Moses appears bearing a message of deliverance. The Jews are joyful and full of praise believing their time in slavery is about to end. Yet immediately after Moses’ first encounter with Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler decrees even harsher rules against the Jewish slaves: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks … don’t reduce the quota” (Exodus 5:7-8).
Later, the Jews are set free after two hundred years of slavery. But Pharaoh and his army are quickly encroaching from the rear and the Israelites face certain death on the shores of the Red Sea.
What happens next is the one of God’s greatest miracles – He split the Red Sea to redeem His nation and deal one final punishment to the Egyptians. As redemption seemed to have evaporated, God provided the Jewish people their greatest triumph.
This Passover Holiday, spent eating matzah and praising God for His deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery, indeed gave me a new perspective. In 1948, God brought us back to our land and the process of our ultimate redemption commenced. It has been a rocky road and we have yet to reach the peaceful existence we were promised thousands of years ago.
But now I understand that we are in the midst of this process of redemption. There will be highs and lows. There may even be moments when it seems we are doomed, just as our ancestors felt as the waves of the Red Sea crashed ahead and the Egyptian forces marched behind. And so, just like during the Exodus, what we need most is that same unrelenting faith in the God of Israel.