Who suffers, who perseveres

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BP Photo by Maia Lefferman

NOW: As Pesach begins in this difficult moment, it is up to us to decide how to move forward.

Rachel Lasry, Staff Writer

Many of us in quarantine feel like we are suffering. In many ways, we are. Forced not to see our friends and family, deprived of the outdoors, living in fear for ourselves and our families. These are legitimate problems. And there are less severe problems, but still great losses. Like the plans we made. Believe me, I feel this loss as much as the next person, I spend just about every second thinking about the loss of my numbered days at Shalhevet. 

But with Pesach approaching I cannot help but look at things in a different light. Jews have been dealing with suffering for just about our entire existence as a nation. That suffering is demonstrated in the story of the Jews’ miraculous escape from Egypt. But in thinking about all of the suffering they encountered before they were freed, one must ask: how did they go on? With all of the pain and suffering, what motivated them?

The answer is complex because each person has his or her own motivation, but the basic answer is that it is human nature to persevere in the face of danger and suffering. When circumstances are at their worst it is in our nature to cling to survival, and to search for a purpose. For Moshe, it was his faith in Hashem, and his will to save the Jewish people. 

In these uncertain times of fear and suffering, though we aren’t slaves in Egypt, we must learn to face our struggles as our ancestors in Egypt did. We must make it through these difficult times by having faith in Hashem, find our sense of purpose amidst all the boredom and frustration, and practice coping through patience and grace. 

Overall, we must take this Pesach to reflect on our current situation, and let our ancestors be our inspiration for how we move forward. We cannot change this unfortunate turn of events, but we can choose to grow during this time and be gracious in the face of fear.