It’s hard to believe, but in two days we’ll again be celebrating Passover. The weeks since Purim have flown by. It seems local shops were only just stocked with hamantaschen and other Purim treats, and now for the past two weeks we’ve been inundated with hametz-free Passover cookies.
Kids have already been off school for Passover vacation for the past week, and traffic is thinning out on the highways. This translates to a little more rest for us parents, who don’t need to rise quite so early in the morning during this springtime holiday season. At the same time, the days leading up to the Passover Seder are quite stressful. This is the time to bring one’s home “into shape,” or as some of our readers might know it, spring cleaning. Everything must be cleansed to ensure not a single crumb of hametz (yeast or leaven) is left. We are not too strict with the Passover religious requirements, but like most Israelis we still take this opportunity to do a good springtime cleaning.
You might have noticed that Corona was not mentioned once. In regards to the pandemic, life has pretty much returned to normal in Israel. Unfortunately, that means old problems have returned. When we celebrate Passover we celebrate Israel’s exodus from slavery to freedom, but the last few weeks have demonstrated that even today, over 3,000 years since we fled Egypt, we are still fighting for our freedom and right to exist. Recent terror attacks have take the lives of 14 people in the past three weeks alone. Less than a week ago, a terrorist shot wildly in a bar in Tel Aviv, killing three young Israelis for no other reason than that there were Jews.
We are in a state of emergency again. The stories of the victims are playing in the media, and we receive non-stop updates on the new war on Palestinian terrorism. It seems the security forces have managed to thwart numerous other planned attacks.
And in the midst of this mess we live our lives. Yesterday our daughter was invited to a birthday party at a pub in Herzliya. The thought of our daughter sitting in a crowded restaurant in the evening filled me with unease. Recent terrorist attacks have all taken place after dark, and the city of Herzliya could well be another target. But can I forbid my daughter from seeing her friends? And for how long should I live with this fear? No, you can’t live like that, so our daughter went to Herzlia with her boyfriend.
Life has to go on. We cannot and will not let the terrorists achieve their goal, which is to fill us with fear. We choose life. And so, the day after tomorrow, on the Seder evening at Passover, we will sit with the whole family at the holiday table and read the Haggadah, celebrating Israel’s exodus from slavery in Egypt to freedom, and at the same time commemorating the victims of the terrorist attacks. We have no other choice.