Our Torah reading this Shabbat speaks of Passover, and of the command that we continue, in each generation, to tell the story of our ancient struggle for freedom, and our quest for the redemption of our world.
And no, it is not enough that we retell the ancient story; our tradition dictates that we relate it to the world in which we live. A world in which so many people continue to live in the “chains of Egypt.” The Egypt that is hunger. The Egypt that is poverty or hopelessness or loneliness.
And it seems to me that one of the beautiful and timeless messages of Passover is that it reminds us that are a people of hope. We are a people that know, from personal experience, that miracles do occur in this world. The enslaved do go free; that what is, need not be what will be.
The Hebrew word for Egypt is based upon a word that means “narrow straits.” Thus there is the country of Egypt; but there is also the confining condition that is “Egypt.” Egypt is any imposed or self-imposed condition from which we yearn to break free. That also is a core concern of our retelling the story of our Exodus to freedom.
So for all of us: One of the core messages of the Passover story is that we not give up. That we not give up on our hopes and visions for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for our world.