With each passing day, we are undoubtedly horrified to open a newspaper or turn on our televisions lest we be subjected to shocking headlines that frighten us to the core. Geo-political instability, internecine warfare, the rise of ISIS, dastardly chemical attacks upon innocent civilians, incessant vitriol being spewed forth against Israel and the West are just some of the issues that rock our normally stable and in some cases, sedate lives.
As a Jews however, we are spending our time these days feverishly preparing for yet another beautiful Yom Tov of Pesach despite the malevolent maelstrom of national and international chaos that surrounds us. Yet and still, it is difficult to escape the fact that for the last several months, our Jewish Community Centers were subjected to bomb threats (albeit bogus) and our cemeteries were viciously vandalized. To anyone who has eyes to see and ears that hear, it is quite apparent that this visible uptick in anti-Semitic incidents is not going away any time soon.
It is not as if the Jewish people have not witnessed far more egregious forms of anti-Semitism, as our surviving European ancestors can attest to, but it is the fact that the scourge of Jew hatred has seen new popularity on our shores. Yes, right here in the “Golden Medina” - in the good ol’ US of A, a place that we convinced ourselves would be an eternal safe haven from the genocidal proclivities of our enemies and a place that would provide us the kind of freedom and justice that we had never known before.
What we are seeing and hearing is nothing short of a wakeup call. A wake up call from the G-d who led us out of bondage in Egypt thousands of years ago and stands with us until this day. To quote the venerable Torah sage of blessed memory, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, a’h, who offered this cogent metaphor for the rise in anti-Semitism in every generation. “When the Jew forgets who he is, when he assimilates and discards his majestic heritage, then Hashem takes out an ad in the local newspaper saying: “Anti-Semites Wanted to Remind My People that they are Jews”. And believe me there is never, ever a shortage of volunteers.”
So, on this Passover let us sit and reflect on how we can become closer to Hashem, to his holy Torah and to his Divine ways. Let us join our family and friends in complete achdus at our Pesach seder tables and let us revive the hope, faith and optimism that has sustained us since time immemorial.