Our bellies are full, we have had several glasses of wine, we have told stories and sung songs, and now it is time for the evening to come to a close. At the end of the seder, we honor the tradition of declaring, "Next year in Jerusalem!"
For some people, the recitation of this phrase expresses the anticipation of the rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and the return of the Messiah. For others, it is an affirmation of hope and of connectedness with Klal Israel, the whole of the Jewish community. Still others yearn for peace in Israel and for all those living in the Diaspora.
Though it comes at the end of the seder, this moment also marks a beginning. We are beginning the next season with a renewed awareness of the freedoms we enjoy and the obstacles we must still confront. We are looking forward to the time that we gather together again. Having retold stories of the Jewish people, recalled historic movements of liberation, and reflected on the struggles people still face for freedom and equality, we are ready to embark on a year that we hope will bring positive change in the world and freedom to people everywhere.
Rabbi David Harman writes: "Passover is the night for reckless dreams; for visions about what a human being can be, what society can be, what people can be, what history may become."
Our seder is over, according to Jewish tradition and law. As we had the pleasure to gather for a seder this year, we hope to once again have the opportunity in the years to come. We pray that G-d brings health and healing to Israel and all the people of the world, especially those impacted by natural tragedy and war. As we say..
L'shana haba-ah biy'rushalayim
NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!
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