A Pesach Letter from Chana Adatto-Shefa

Dear SAC Families and Friends,

As Pesach approaches each year, we take pause to revisit the greatest story of our history – leaving Egypt. This story relates miracles, leadership, unity and freedom. It’s the basketball game of the century – Moshe vs. Ramses. They’ve got homecourt advantage, we’ve got the speed, they’ve got the height, and they’re putting up a good fight. We’ve got to get ahead. But how?

We know how we got out of Egypt – with the strong hand of Gd. But it begs a question in me, which is, how did we get into this mess in the first place? Why were the Egyptians scared of us at all? At that time, the Jews were a leaderless bunch of people, slaves to the Egyptians, with no land of our own. The Egyptians were viewed as the rulers of the Near East. They had a strong leader, power, prosperity and a forceful nation. What did they see that made them worried?

To strengthen the question, when we look at the interactions between Moshe and Ramses, we see their clash as a defining moments for their nations. Ramses had built this immense nation, built on the immortality of the statues and their gods, and when Moshe stepped into his life, he shook that foundation every so slightly, but enough to make Ramses scared. What did he see that made him question the future of his nation?

Rabbi Sacks in his Haggadah on Pesach shares with us the game plan that can get around their 7 foot center for the win, that will make us an undefeatable team. He describes what I believe to be the power of Pesach and the power of the Jew nation.

Right before the 10th plague, Moshe gathers the people together to give them the 4th quarter pep talk. What we expect is something along the lines of, “Okay guys, we are 2 shots away from tying the game. We need to have Aaron on strong defense under the hoop. I’ll take the Ramses up top. Let’s go!”  Instead, Moshe says the famous line that we read and highlight during the Seder. “When in time to come, your child asks you, saying, “what does this mean?” you shall say to him” (Exodus 13:14).

Sorry coach – we didn’t practice that play. What was Moshe thinking?

Moshe knew something that Ramses didn’t. Rabbi Sacks says, “to defend a land, you need an army, to defend freedom you need education.” Moshe knew we would make it out of Egypt because Gd told us He would take us out. No game plan needed on our part. But what Moshe wanted us to remember as we were leaving Egypt was that we would no longer be builders of Egyptian pyramids anymore. Rather, we would become builders of the Jewish nation.

“What’s the game plan?” we asked Moshe.

Teach your children the values of Gd; Integrity, honesty, justice, kindness, compassion. Our buildings will not be made of mortar, rather good deeds. That is the secret to our immortality.

Ramses was scared of us, not because of amazing defense or 3 point shot. Rather, he saw that Moshe had the capacity to turn us into an immortal nation, by creating a people of educators, who could instill within ourselves and our families Jewish values that will stand the test of time.

This is the message, and the purpose of the seder, and one that we strive to achieve at Sephardic Adventure Camp. At SAC, we get to experience activities that we don’t normally get to do during the year, such as color war, archery, boating, and horseback riding. We eat s’mores and have dance parties at every opportunity. Even more than that though, camp is an opportunity for our staff and campers to become builders, to continue to develop the skills and values that we were imparted by our families over Pesach. At camp, we are out in the wilderness, without our cell phones, ipads, or any semblance of our everyday lives, where we can learn about ourselves by interacting with our friends and counselors, with the chance to build our nation, from inside out.

Moadim Lesimcha,

Chana Adatto-Shefa

April 22, 2016 · by  · in SAC Blog · Tags:

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