Nirtzah marks the conclusion of the seder. Our bellies are full, we have had several glasses of wine, we have told stories, and now it is time for the evening to come to a close. At the end of the seder, we traditionally declare, “Next year in Jerusalem!” For some people, the recitation of this phrase expresses the anticipation of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and the return of the Messiah. For others, it is an affirmation of hope and of connectedness with Klal Yisrael, the whole of the Jewish community. Still others yearn for peace in Israel and for all those living in the Diaspora.
No matter the reason you say it, 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. 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.
In The Leader's Guide to the Family Participation Haggadah: A Different Night, Rabbi David Hartman 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.”
And now, our seder is over. 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. And together we say…
לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם
L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim
Next year in Jerusalem!
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