An essay about Vehi She’amda

(AJNews) – Rabbi Chaim Greenwald, Director of Judaic Studies at Halpern Akiva Academy, assigned his Grade 7 students to write an essay discussing the Passover Haggadah and the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is Atara S’s essay.

By Atara S., Grade 7, Halpern Akiva Academy – The translation for Vehi She’amda is that “Hashem has saved us from our enemies as they tried and still try to destroy us.” What is the real purpose of this song we sing on Pesach? How can we relate to this today, that Hashem “saves”? We are facing one of the hardest points in the last 20 years — social isolation, quarantine and not being able to take part in our Jewish community. Shuls are closed, several Jews have contracted the virus and we still say, “Hashem saves.”

It is all the way we look at it — do we want to look at it the positive or the negative way? Yes, this is a hard time. Is this the first time something challenging and scary has happened to the Jews? No, of course not. Looking way back, the first time we see such horrible things happening to the Jews is the story of Pesach. I think we can take a valuable lesson here.

Hashem always has a plan when it comes to tough times. What did He do when Bnei Yisrael were in Egypt? He freed them from slavery, and they gained riches and cattle. They received the Torah and became His nation as one. They were brought together because of a traumatic event. Maybe bad situations happen to us to make us stronger and to bring the Jewish nation and even the world closer as one.

As Bnei Yisrael have done in the past with every hardship pushed at them, we must come out of this challenge with positive lessons and a new outlook on life. We must gather as one to support each other through tough times just as our ancestors have done for the past 3000 years. So let us all have a meaningful Pesach and next year in Jerusalem (B’’H)!

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