The Haggadah saves the most demanding call for the final moments of the seder. “Next year in Jerusalem,” we declare, sometimes nervously, sometimes self-consciously, often ambivalently.
At the very least, we can understand the call “Next Year in Jerusalem” as a repudiation of the wicked son: Jews, no matter our politics, have a special responsibility to tie ourselves to Israel’s fate, and to work for the vision of Israel in which we believe. But “Next Year in Jerusalem” also has a spiritual meaning. In Jerusalem itself, the seder concludes with the the call “Next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem.” The Jerusalem Jerusalemites are striving for is something else altogether, the Jerusalem on high. Jerusalem is the symbol of peace, the destination of the Messiah, the holiest place on earth, the purest expression of the profound Jewish belief that the world will one day be a better place. It is this idea of Jerusalem for which we also reach. When we reach it--and we will, for that is the core Jewish belief--there will be no more need for seders and Haggadot: We will live in a world in which the poor are fed and sheltered and the sick healed; in which the Jews are accepted as a free people; in which no one is persecuted or enslaved. Until that day arrives, we will continue to gather around the Passover table, to remind ourselves, and each other, of the work we must do. So what are we going to do?
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