Custom during the Passover Seder is to remove ten drop of wine from the second glass, diminishing our symbol of joy in deference to the plagues which befell the Egyptians. Indeed, the sacred and eternal message of Passover is to remember that suffering, to remember that we were strangers in Egypt – and to act accordingly in every subsequent day and age.
Our Torah portion this week, Va-eira (Exodus 6:2-9:35), recalls the harsh treatment of our ancestors and the beginning of the plagues Moses and God brought before Pharaoh to secure their redemption. We are ritually reminded of this message every year, not because we are not all wise, not all students of history, but because situations and context continually change. I hope you will join us at 7:00pm in Seattle this Erev Shabbat as Dr. Roberto Dondisch, the Jewish Consul of Mexico, shares the concerns of his community: Mexican immigrants made to feel as strangers in our land. Together may we remember the lessons of our sacred tradition and find new application for these ancient words.
Rabbi Aaron C. Meyer