Soon we will celebrate Passover, the remembrance of our going free from slavery in Egypt to freedom and, eventually, the Promised Land. It must have seemed like such an improbability that we should go free. We had been living in Egypt for over 400 years and we had been slaves for generations. You were a slave to Pharaoh, your parents were slaves, their parents had been slaves and theirs before them. Your children were slaves and as far as you could see your grandchildren on down would also be slaves. How improbable it must have seemed that with generations of slavery behind them, all the Israelites would suddenly be free.
We here today are in conditions not even remotely as difficult as our ancestors suffered, yet there are similarities. The Israelites lived in Egypt, a land not their own. We are in a building that is not our own. It’s a beautiful space, but it’s not ours and we can’t always do what we want. Our ancestors sought out the Promised Land. We are seeking to buy our own land in Frisco. They had difficulty believing they would go free. Sometimes what it will take to buy land and build our own home seems daunting as well. The Israelites needed Nachshon to lead them into and across the Sea of Reeds to escape the pursuing Egyptian Army. We need members to act like Nachshon, leading the entire congregation in giving generously to be able to buy our own land.
The Israelites ended up wandering in the wilderness for 40 years before making it to the Promised Land. I can promise you, it won’t take us that long to make it to our new land. This year at the end of our Community Seder, we will sing “next year in Jerusalem.” The year after this one we will again sing “next year in Jerusalem.” The year after that, we will again sing “next year in Jerusalem.” Probably the year after that, we will still sing “next year in Jerusalem.” But after that, it is possible that we will sing “next year in Frisco.”
They struggled, but our ancestors made it the Promised Land. Eventually, we too will make it to our own land. It’s a promise we need to keep for ourselves, for our children, and for the generations to come of Reform Jews in Collin County.