Saturday, May 25, 2024 -
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From the darkness of the impending danger

PASSOVER EDITION 5784
SECTION C PAGE 23

As we stand poised to celebrate another Passover: 
 After the astonishing night of Iran’s missiles and drones shot down without a single casualty, it feels like we as the Jewish people just re-enacted our own miraculous Passover, not just in the spiritual traveling to the recesses of our collective national memory, recalling the national miracles of salvation so long ago when the Egyptians pursued us and the miracles rained down upon us.

On the other hand, with the wrenching reality of hostages still captive in Gaza, it feels like our generation’s miracle of Passover — will it ever come to be? When will the return of the innocent kidnapped Israeli hostages from out of the claws of Hamas finally come to pass?

Abroad, only an hour away from Israel’s time zone, to follow the speed of the developing situation of the Iranian attack from pre-Shabbat to the post-Shabbat was terrifying.

After all these years of threatening, Iran was going to attack Israel directly. Not via a proxy such as Hamas or Hezbollah or the Houthis, but straight from the beast itself.

Saturday night, waiting for an attack from Iran. Waiting and shaking for loved ones in Israel.

What will be?

What capabilities does Iran have in place that compelled them to feel comfortable to finally deputing their instruments of death directly?

Terror and anxiety coursed through my veins, along with the rest of the Jewish people’s.

I would say, the fear was: What were we going to wake up to? Yet, not an eyelid of mine closed for a moment as I lay awake, checking in on what was transpiring.

Encouraged by the intensity of the crescendo of their own overhead jets that Israelis heard, as they lay in wait knowing that Iranian missiles were on their way — their target and destination marked — the plague of darkness in Egypt came to mind. The vale of darkness blanketing Egypt; the darkness of fear, the darkness of the unknown, the darkness of impending danger.

The Israeli airport closed. Thoughts of being unable to return in time for Passover passed through my mind.

Before Passover Israelis are steeped in the preparations for the holiday, scrubbing, cleaning, switching kitchens over, shopping, strategizing — amidst this pre-Passover chaos, winds of a war within a war.

A sense of hopelessness was practically tangible.

Yet, the next morning seemed almost anti-climactic to the point of being confusing.

As the anxiety was still coursing through our veins, it was a bonafide open miracle we were reading about!

Nothing happened. Not one Iranian rocket reached Israel. Soldiers emerged unscathed. Only one person was hurt. No Israel Air Force planes were lost or even hit.

Our wildest and deepest hopes and prayers were answered.

We, our generation, as we limp in pain from the current war in Gaza, as we still have seeping wounds from the Oct. 7 Simchat Torah massacre, witnessed a miracle.

Beyond that. Recently, as we have all felt plagued by the at best tentative support for Israel — and more recently the waning support for Israel — Israel’s international isolation — we that not only the US joined the fray in aiding Israel against, but so did Saudi Arabia (by opening its airspace) and, especially, Jordan.

Gobsmacking.

Miracles that feel Exodus-esque.

In our own time.

As my grandparents and dear friends in the Holocaust survivor generation would say, “Shrek mich nor shtruf mich nisht: G-d scare us but don’t punish us.”

The sheer terror of the unknown, of the impending attack, vanished, as the relieving news of its outcome spread.

We experienced our own relief, our own redemption, from the narrowing straits.

A time travel-like portent of the impending Passover, mere days away.

And yet. 
 Never in my lifetime have we felt farther away from the redemption of Egypt, closer than ever to the predicament of slavery of Jews in Egypt, as the hostages remain in captivity.

More than ever we are left yearning deeply for their freedom.

We approach this year’s seder so freshly grateful for the miracle of toppling Iran’s rockets and simultaneously outstretched in prayer for the release of the hostages.

All of these emotions can be summed up in a phrase rooted in the Haggadah: “Shebechol dor vador omdim aleinu lechaloteinu . . . in each and every generation they stand ready to annihilate us.” To our generation, this has never been felt so forcefully as this year. “ . . . ve’Hakadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu miyadam . . . but G-d rescues us from their hands.”

Let these age old words from the Passover Haggadah shine like a lighthouse illuminating the night, illuminating our people’s and Israel’s future.

Chag Kasher v’Sameach, dear readers.

Copyright © 2024 by the Intermountain Jewish News



Tehilla Goldberg

IJN columnist | View from Central Park


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