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April 16, 2024 - 8 Nisan 5784

04/15/2024 01:15:08 PM


First came the warnings of an imminent attack by Iran on Israel. Then the reports of an
armada of missiles, drones and rockets crossing the desert to the west. Then there were
sirens from Dan to Beersheba, followed by the flashes of light as a reported 99% of the
300+ flying weapons were neutralized, destroyed, shot down and rendered harmless; and of
the 1% that reached Israeli soil intact, the largely incidental damage was slight: reports
highlighted serious injury to one girl injured in a Bedouin settlement. May her recovery be
speedy and complete.

The targeted landmarks, including the El Aksa Mosque still stand, undamaged; so, too, the
Knesset and high-rises of Tel Aviv. Iran fired an arsenal in retaliation for the destruction of its
Embassy in Damascus, Israel activated defenses; and they were supplemented by the US,
UK and Jordan, to prevent a catastrophic loss of life, property and structures.

NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman writes:

“It would be easy to be dazzled by the way Israeli, American and other allied militaries shot
down virtually every Iranian drone, cruise missile and ballistic missile launched at Israel on
Saturday and conclude that Iran had made its point — retaliating for Israel’s allegedly killing a top Iranian commander operating against Israel from Syria — and now we can call it a day.” [Opinion | Iran Just Made a Big Mistake. Israel Shouldn’t Follow. - The New York Times

As Sunday continued, Israel’s War Cabinet met to discuss further responses to Iran’s
retaliation. There are several paths open as this massive attack escalated the long-standing
tension between two powerful militaries. The danger in such explanation is not to Israel
alone, but as the unrest of the eastern shoreline of the Mediterranean swings back, the
unpredictable splash over that might lead to further unrest almost anywhere in the Middle
East, North Africa or beyond.

While we must leave the concrete plans in the hands of the dreaded ‘military-industrial
complex’—with appropriate recognition of President Eisenhower’s warning—these unsettling
events at the six-month mark after the Iran-sponsored Hamas attack from Gaza, and with
the ominous armaments in Lebanon Iran has supplied to Hezbollah—also come near the eve
of Passover.

Is that a coincidence? Perhaps. Yet, I take to heart the idea suggested by the leadership of
ARZA—the Association of Reform Zionists of America—that when we ask at Seder Night,
‘how is this night different from all other nights?’—we might better amend the question:

Mah nishtanah leyl haseder hazeh mikawl ha-leilot?
How does this Seder Night differ from all others?

For six months we have been witnesses to history, from the yagon—deprivation of October
7—to the simchah—rejoicing—that each liberated captive has brought. Israel has brought a
plague of destruction, a swath of victory and renewed confidence to Israelis and Diaspora
Jews [that is us] through military feats. For many Jews—and clearly among the relatives and
supporters of Gaza Palestinians—such rejoicing has the very bitter taste of weeping,
mourning and profound loss that inevitably arise upon seeing the wounded, the starving, the
huddled refugees in inadequate shelter that have become daily fare in news reports.

Such is the moral conflict that will cloud my thoughts on Seder Night eve, more than the
long-established reduction of the cup of wine for each of the 10 biblical plagues described in
Exodus and listed in the Haggadah. The weeping in ancient Egypt, the mourning in
contemporary Gaza, and our responsibility to all humanity meet in time at the Seder.

Even more so, with each passing day that the remaining hostages of October 7—for whose
safe return we have prayed week by week—are still not returned, nor freed, nor even proven
to be alive, the teetertotter of emotions remains unbalanced: How shall we celebrate
liberation while our own mishpachah—kith and kin—endure privation that is a modern-day
version of sivlut mitzrayim—slavery in Egypt.

Follow this link for some provocative ideas about marking the uniqueness of Pesach 5784:

Mah Nishtanah? – A Different Seder in a Post- October 7th World – ARZA

Tom Friedman goes on to say in conclusion:

"Still, what happened Saturday is ultimately a significant boost for what I call the
Inclusion Network in the Middle East (more open, connected countries like Jordan,
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel and the NATO
allies) and a real setback for the Resistance Network (the closed and autocratic
systems represented by Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and Iran’s Shiite militias
in Iraq) and Russia. The sound within Iran and the Resistance Network on Sunday
morning is that sound you hear from your car’s GPS after a wrong turn: “Recalculating,
recalculating, recalculating.”

As Passover comes, as the chametz—leavening – is removed from our households, our lives,
perhaps even our psyches, we also have the opportunity to chart a new path.

Be prepared.

Thu, July 18 2024 12 Tammuz 5784