There certainly has been a lot of bad news recently.
Last week, it was the horrific deaths of the seven Brooklyn children in the fire that raged on erev Shabbat.
This week, the disasters have not had any specific Jewish angles, but they are enough to give all of us shuddering nightmares. The stories of the pilot who murdered 149 people by flying them into a mountain and of the victims who died when a downtown Manhattan building exploded, burned, and imploded, most probably because someone was trying to cheat the gas company, are the stuff from which agoraphobes are made. (Although that’s not going to work either, because you’re not even safe at homeâ€¦)
The world seems to be a grim place right now.
But spring is coming.
That seems hard to believe. It’s been visible only in tantalizing little whiffs, soon dissipated. But we know it’s coming.
And the earth knows too. Crocuses have started showing up, and sometimes they even venture to open. The occasional foolish forsythia has bloomed
And the daffodils are poking through as well. (Daffodils are the absolute essence of spring. Even the name shows it. They’re a little bit goofy – that’s the “daffy” part – and they are also upright, spiky, and above the line – all those ds and fs and l. And they’re yellow, the color of springtime.)
By the time you read this, it will be our springtime holiday. Passover is the holiday of our liberation and our redemption. It is also called chag he-aviv – the holiday of spring. We can begin to think more easily about liberation when we can go outside without dressing up like the Pillsbury Doughboy, when we see color around us, when the light lasts into evening and begins to have some golden body to it, when the air tastes of new beginnings and although you can’t name exactly what you are feeling you know that you really like it.
So right now, it feels as if we are at a crossroads. The winter, with its heaviness, its tragedy, its darkness, and its never-ending snow, is behind us, in theory at least. The spring, with its promise of liberation, shines at us, beckons to us, promises us a chance of at least the pursuit of happiness.
We hope that all of us will be able to move forward, that if we work toward liberation we will find ourselves ever closer to it.
All of us at the Jewish Standard hope that all of you, our readers, have a sweet, sunlit Pesach.