It’s that time of year, when all South Dakotans have their eyes on one thing: Spring. The winter with its crisp air, and peaceful whiteness, can also have a long uncomfortable side to it, which makes the upcoming spring even more appealing.
In nature, spring brings forth to the surface the natural forces which were hidden during the winter. Blossoms, and all forms of plant life, sprout anew.
A basic foundation of Chasidic philosophy is that everything we see and hear, indeed everything we encounter, must serve as a lesson for us individually in our lives and our behavior.
So when thinking of Passover, and the meaning of its spring season, it seems we can apply this concept to the human experience as well. We each know all too well that winter feeling, that state of apparent un-productivity in the life of a person. Those days or weeks that we are just feeling dull, and can’t seem to shake it off, or maybe we feel constrained by emotional baggage we carry, and see no way out of our metaphorical “winter.”
It’s times like these that we must remember that this state of “winter” can easily and suddenly be changed into “spring” - just as it happens in nature. And that yes, blossoms will very soon come forth.
We will become productive, energized, and hopeful again. Indeed, behind that dull feeling we may experience, is the power to reveal the potential renewal. It absolutely is there, beneath the wintery soil.
The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson taught that the significance of “springtime” in Jewish life is suggested by the festival of Pesach which we will soon be celebrating. As indicated in the Torah, “You are going forth (from Egypt) this day, in the month of spring.” For two hundred and ten years the children of Israel lived in Egypt, in physical and spiritual slavery, stagnating in the abominations of Egypt. It did not seem that there could be a revival of Jewish life. Yet, there came the Exodus in the middle of the spring, and the children of Israel were quite free, so free in fact that in a very short time they became worthy of receiving the Torah—the zenith and completeness of the entire universe.
This idea, to move from a “winter” - a time of relatively less productivity, to “spring,” is one we can apply in our personal lives. It is also something we very much look forward to at Chabad as a community, as we begin to explore ways of springing forward and expanding our operation in Sioux Falls and across the state.
It will be a journey we are excited to be taking with all of you. There are many good things to come!
Mussie joins me in wishing you and your family a Kosher and Happy Passover, with good health, peace and happiness, and that we all merit the true meaning and celebration of Passover, also known as “a time of freedom” – free from all worries, concerns and personal limitations.
Rabbi Mendel Alperowitz
Serving the spiritual needs of the South Dakota Jewish community. Based in Sioux Falls and travels the state.