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Why is this night different from all other nights?

In the course of the Jewish calendar we have so many beautiful holidays and special moments. Yet only on Pesach do we ask; Why is this night different from all the other nights?

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Pesach is the time that we will be redeemed. Just like in the past, so too in the future we will be redeemed. And now, is that future we have all been waiting for, for so many years. This is why Seder night is different from all other nights.

This past year can shed some light onto this special night. A year ago on Erev Pesach, the entire world, and especially here in Israel, were all shut down and in great fear. The unknown about the coronavirus was running wild, and panic and fear were in every one’s hearts. The elderly and the sick were isolated immediately, and only the immediate families were permitted to be together on this very special night of the Seder. In a place of joy and redemption there was only sadness and loneliness. Instead of hope and light, darkness and despair filled the air. The streets were empty and the hearts were full of pain and worry.

When we all recited why this night is different from all other nights, we didn’t feel happiness or redemption. Many people sat all alone and knew exactly why this night was different from all other nights.

The shops were all closed and the busiest time of year turned into the quietest time. People were simply depressed and scared. Instead of preparing for the redemption, it felt like we were preparing for the worst.

When a person experiences a hard situation whether it’s a health situation or another difficult situation, when they come out of it, everything around them seems ten times better than before.

The sun seems brighter and the air seems cleaner. The flowers smell so sweet and all the people in the street seem to be friendlier and nicer than ever before. The joy of getting through a really hard time, sort of wipes out the dark times in a minute. When something is taken away and then given back, the appreciation and the feelings of gratitude are so much greater. We were missing something and then it was returned. The same thing that was taken away and then given back has a value greater than can be imagined.

A year passed and Passover has come once again.

The streets and stores are filled with preparation for the holiday like never before. People in the stores stop one another and smile. Instead of the pushes and uptight faces, laughter and joy fill the streets, this year.

This past year people lost lives to the terrible coronavirus. People lost their jobs and their money.

However, people also discovered their families once again and how sacred life really is.

Preparing for Passover this year felt like we are finally going to be redeemed forever.

It’s written that only in happiness can we be redeemed. We leave the bad behind and in peace we will be led to salvation.

All the shutdowns in Israel gave this past week of preparation for the holiday, such a special taste.

When we sit on Seder night and sing the Ma Nishtana, what is different on this night more than any other night of the year, the feeling of redemption will definitely take front stage.

Instead of four question the children ask on this great night, we will ask a fifth question this year. Why is this night different? We are all together, since we are alive and well after such a difficult and trying year.

As I walked through the streets and bought all I needed for the holiday, I pictured everyone sitting and singing together in happiness and health. I pictured all the people coming to the old city of Jerusalem on this Pesach dressed like royalty and welcoming the true redemption. Seeing the third Temple finally resting on top of the holiest mountain in the world Har HaBayit. And hearing all the Kohanim recite the blessing of peace and prosperity to all. Last year there were only ten people at the Kotel reciting the blessing for all of Israel. I remember how sad it was. This year we will all be there to receive the blessing, this year we will all be redeemed like never before.

Living in Israel and especially in Jerusalem one can really feel the words of our prophets coming true. In Zechariah (chapter 8), it’s written that the elderly will sit in Jerusalem and the streets will be filled, and children will play in the streets of Jerusalem.

Last year the streets were abandoned, and this year they are filled with the elderly and the children playing and enjoying the outdoors just like the prophet said will be in the time that we will be redeemed.

And in Yishayahu (51, chapter 3), it’s written that Hashem will console the land of Israel and rebuild all its ruins. If one walks through the streets of Jerusalem there is building on every corner. The roads are growing and the buildings are expanding.

This year we can really feel that this night is different form all other nights. This night we are all redeemed.

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Michal can be reached at michal@jewishpress.com