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This is not the end of our story

At the Passover seder, we sat with our fellow Jews and said that in every generation our enemies try to hurt the Jewish people. This year that statement was incredibly powerful. Throughout Passover we sat watching the horrific images of our Jewish sons and daughters being harassed at the top universities across America. We are living in a truly difficult time in Jewish history. 

I had many conversations and gave several lectures over Passover regarding world events. There is no doubt that Aish’s ability to reach millions through social media is crucial to helping fight the current situation. We live in a generation where facts matter little. The absurdity of university students celebrating Hamas’s rape and murder spree against women and children is beyond comprehension. 

Social media is the new language, and facts many times are irrelevant. That is why Aish must increase our work tenfold. We have access to every millennial’s phone on every campus. We must keep working hard to fight for our people. We must shine a light into the darkness and explain who and what the Jewish Nation represents. The extremists will ignore us but there are so many that are just simply ignorant of our story. So many of our Jewish brothers and sisters are ignorant of our story. We must strive to do mass education and share the beauty of Judaism and Jews. 

Someone I spoke with over Passover shared how depressed he was and wondered if this may be the end of Israel. I assured him that this is not the end of our story and I told him the following Torah thought that I heard from my good friend, Rabbi Yaakov Glasser.


Rabbi Yaakov Glasser


In the Haggadah, we read about a special seder that took place in Bnei Brak. The Aruch HaShulchan, a famous Jewish commentary from the last century, explained that this was a special seder as it was the first seder after the destruction of the Temple. Since so much of the Pesach service revolved around the Temple, it was difficult to imagine what the seder would look like.


Seder plate


The Rabbinic leaders of that generation chose to have their seder together in Bnei Brak as that was the city where Rabbi Akiva was the Chief Rabbi. What perspective did Rabbi Akiva bring that was so important to spend that particular seder with him? At the end of the Talmudic tractate of Makkos, there is a story that several Rabbis visited the Temple Mount after its destruction and they saw a fox running through the ruins. Immediately, the Rabbis started to cry due to the desolation and ruin that they witnessed. Behind them, they heard someone laughing. It was none other than Rabbi Akiva.


They asked him, ‘Have you lost your mind? Why are you happy?’ He responded by asking them why they were sad. They answered that they were sad because the Almighty’s House was burnt to the ground. Rabbi Akiva said that just like there was a prophecy that the Temple would be destroyed and it was fulfilled, so too, we have a prophecy that the Temple will one day be rebuilt and that prophecy will also be fulfilled. I know that the Almighty will keep His promise and rebuild on this spot. They said, “Akiva, you have consoled us.” Therefore, to uplift their spirits and focus on the future, they went to Rabbi Akiva for that first Seder.


Western Wall


My friends, I too would be depressed if I didn’t know that the Almighty exists and loves us more than we could ever comprehend. This is not the end of our story. This is a challenge to be sure, but the Jewish people are resilient. We will find our way through these difficult times and will emerge stronger than ever. We must continue our efforts to stand by one another. I am incredibly grateful to so many allies who have emerged in this fight. Many of them are not Jewish, and have stepped up in a heroic way. Never in our history has it been so clear who is with us and who is not. Ultimately, the Jewish people must stand united. This is the secret to our longevity and might. When Jews stand shoulder to shoulder we will always emerge victorious.