A Passover Message from Rabbi Ben Spratt
The smell of matzah balls bathing in steaming broth. The sight of the polished seder plate and wine-stained haggadah. The sweet taste of charoset and reminder of singed tastebuds from maror-eating contests. The sounds of Mah Nishtanah and Dayeinu. For many of us, Passover is a holiday of delicious and memorable scripts. We gather with familiar faces, taste familiar foods, speak familiar words, and reflect on familiar themes. As we recline in our cushioned seats, we become creatures of unleavened comfort.
Yet, as we touch and taste our matzah, we remember the affliction of our ancestors. And in that memory is passed an obligation. From the cry of our ancestors long ago came God’s redemptive response. And in our own day, as we hear the cry of those in need, we are required to offer our own redemptive response. Even as we recline and savor our soup and wine, we are intended to both invite in the hunger of the world and sate the needs of others.
We are blessed to be a part of a school and a community that is built on this principle. Your children are learning in a vibrant environment, giving them the tools to be our moral leaders for the future. Through Jewish ethics and values, the constant encouragement of questioning and exploration, and experiences designed to open the heart and mind, Rodeph Sholom School is an environment of excellence and lived-learning.
But as every era of Jewish thought reminds us, we cannot do this without you. What sustained Judaism in every generation, what enables these future leaders to create a new and better future, was and is their connection to you and your connection to them. From Egypt to Rodeph Sholom, we look at an unbroken chain of redemption, of each generation ensuring the flourishing of the next and taking up the mantle to move the world ever-forward. Your love and guidance, your experience and support, all work in concert with our efforts as a school to help each student rise to their potential, as learners, as leaders, and as mentsches.
In the book of Proverbs we read, “Grandchildren are the crown of their elders, and the glory of children is their parents.” One generation celebrating and ensuring the next, adorned in the blessings of ages past, present, and future. As we prepare to tell our epic tale from long ago, we also look to our future – our children and grandchildren. As they understand how their own blessings are built on the efforts and challenges of previous generations, they learn to continue that responsibility of redemption and hear the cries of urgency today.
As we recline and recall our ancestors movement from oppression to freedom, may we feel the obligation that comes with it. May we open our hearts and our homes to the need around us, and in the eyes of our children and grandchildren, see our inspiration to create redemptive blessing.
Thank you and happy holiday,
Congregation Rodeph Sholom