“Vehi Sheamda - and this is what kept our fathers and what keeps us surviving.” What is the “this” that we sing about on the seder night?
Many rabbis come with their different opinions saying that the things that keep us surviving is the torah which we received on Har Sinai, others say it is the mitzvot, our great rabbis or even Shabbat.
A nice idea I once heard says that the “this” that we sing about is in fact anti-Semitism. It says that anti-Semitism has kept the Jewish people surviving over hundreds of years. Our enemies can try and extinguish us. They might enslave us as Pharoah did, they might try and annihilate us physically as Hitler did, they might try and take away our Jewish identity as Stalin did, but they can never take away our hope and succeed to wipe us out completely.
It is in times where anti-Semitism is the strongest where we can see that this meaning for Vehi Sheamda is most true. When our enemies try and knock us down, it gives us strength to stand up taller and fight back stronger than before. When anti-Semitism is highest we come together and it is because of this that the Jews continue to thrive today. In fact it is our enemies who kept our fathers and who keep us surviving.
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