By: Sarah Mack
Amid the excitement of seders this week, it would be easy to miss the subtle change to our prayers that occurs each year during Passover. Instead of beseeching God to make the winds blow and rains fall, we now ask for dew to fall.
Hooray! After a rough winter, the summer liturgy has arrived – warmer weather must not be far behind, right? Alas, the day after we began reciting these words…it snowed.
Of course, these additions to the Amidah relate to the agricultural needs of Israel, not New England. But the irony still stings – and is a reminder (one that many of us don’t need) of how little we can control our world.
The old Yiddish saying “We plan and God laughs” holds true. Just like the weather, we cannot always count on things working out the way we hope.
With all of the photos of perfectly set seder tables and impossibly fluffy desserts appearing on social media, it can be hard to admit that, sometimes, the brisket burns and the sponge cake collapses. This season can inflame the sting of loss as we look at an empty chair at the seder table or feel the ache of disappointment and loneliness as we reflect on our journeys.
This Shabbat we read about Moses making one of his biggest blunders – breaking the first set of tablets. The ancient rabbis spend much time describing what happened to the pieces. One midrash teaches that these shattered remnants were as valuable as the whole tablets – likening them to jewels. Another rabbi taught that the broken pieces were carried in their very own ark throughout the wilderness with the Israelites. It is a sage reminder that our broken pieces have value as well. They endow us with humility, grace and sensitivity.
In this season of liberation, let us remember that it is through our struggles that we gain wisdom and compassion. May the sight of daffodils blooming through the snow give us hope in the future.