The Land


As Passover approaches, how appropriate we focus on the Promised Land, given to Abraham and the destination of the journey’s end for the Israelites fleeing Egypt, this story told as part of our seders next week. This is not the time to embroil our thoughts on present day issues around Israel, but rather, let’s go back to ancient times and try to think about Israel in terms of how it might have been then and even now despite the complexities of current events. . .


No one can doubt the special nature of the area we call Israel. That area especially being central to more than just Judaism, specifically the Abrahamic faiths, and others, makes it holy to so many. For that very reason alone we can see why it has such a challenging history.

As the home country and refuge for Jews, it historically has been the center of much controversy with clearly no easy political solution in sight. Yet how interesting that in our lifetimes, during these decades, we have seen the coming together of Jews and a growing number of Christians over their views about this very land – Israel. Whatever our differences historically which have been a wedge between us, today for many Christians, the specialness of Israel is something on which Jews and those Christians can agree. How HaShem is using The Land to heal that historical schism.


The Haggadah literally tells the order of the service we will experience next week. Yet in addition to the many rituals and observances, the telling of the story of the freeing of the Jewish slaves from Egypt and their exodus to The Promised Land is central to the evenings’ experiences. The observances of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the descriptions of the eating of the paschal lamb, are detailed in Scripture, brought forward and observed generation to generation until present day. I actually can’t think of any holiday so central to our Jewish faith as this one commemorating our freedom from bondage.


How appropriate it would take place then and now as a reminder to free ourselves from bondage, whether literally as back then, or from all that keeps us from intimacy with our Creator, the many realities of modern life – quest for power, greed, excesses, secularism, depression, anxiety, busy-ness, meaningless distractions – the list is endless. How amazing that a ceremonial meal and service that has centered our people for millennia can remain more relevant than ever. That fact alone is a miracle of His Love for us, and His patience as He waits for us to turn toward Him, reminding us every year, over and over again . . . chance after chance for us to cleave to Him.


As Messianic Jews, the pull of this story of the exodus from Egypt, is in our DNA. Just as we all stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai when the tablets were given to Moses, as we all stood at the foot of the cross when Yeshua was crucified, we are given these times to immerse in a mystery beyond comprehension. We are given the opportunity to step out of our daily lives and enter holy space, His calling to us to remember, never forget, the freedom we have been given to worship Him.


As the world may disagree about Israel, may it also not be forgotten it is a Holy Land. One day may it be a place of peace as more unite for its protection and those who seek its destruction be able to see it differently. Every year the last sentence we say at the end of the seder is “Next year in Jerusalem!” May it be, whether in our hearts or in reality, may it someday be a place of shalom.


Shabbat shalom.


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