Emanuel Synagogue

Pesach 8 Day Anzac

As we sit at our seder tables every year, we are aware of the empty chairs, the places which should be filled by those we love who have gone from this earth. As we look at the spaces they used to occupy, we remember the journey of their lives, the moments we shared and the loss we feel at the absence of their physical presence. When we re-tell the story of the Exodus we meet the constant refrain that we should remember we were slaves in Egypt, that our journey was from slavery to freedom, that redemption came because we took action and we should never forget our degradation and our suffering. But just as we are told to remember, just as we are celebrating freedom, we do not leave it there, the tradition teaches that we are freed, that we remember our loved ones, in order to then do and act. We are commanded to use the memories and the experiences to inspire us to create a better world; a place where nobody suffers, where we curb our freedoms in order to allow space for all.

This week at our communal seder we focused on themes of the environment and Dr. Susan Banki spoke with us about the concept of sacrifice. She said that we no longer have the physical Pesach Sacrifice which in the past, was a central feature of our celebration and commemoration of the festival. Now that we no longer sacrifice animals, we might place this idea to the side, but it can have a very powerful message for us still today. She noted that we would all love to see changes in the world: food for all, economic justice, homes and shelter, an end to suffering, and it is tempting to think that all of that can come about without any changes, any sacrifices from us. But change will require each of us to take action and perhaps give up some comforts, some money, to make sacrifices for the greater whole. And that is hard. The Pesach Sacrifice was difficult for our ancestors but it was a path to change and transformation. We too can take that path, as a community, together, giving up a little, to enable a future for our planet and all people.

This Shabbat we also commemorate the ANZAC service and we remember all those who served and those who continue to serve, in our armed forces. Each one sacrifices of themselves to provide us with safety and security and to ensure our values are manifest in the world. We honour all those who gave their lives in service and those who have given to our country and our people. We are grateful for all that you do and have done for each of us. 

And this Shabbat, as we do always, we pray for peace for our world, an end to tyrrany and injustice and a time when all can live in harmony. Oseh Shalom bimromav, hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu ve al kol yoshvei tevel, amen. 

May God who makes peace in the heavens, bring peace to all of us and the world. Amen.

Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio


Emanuel Synagogue
7 Ocean Street
Woollahra, NSW 2025

Contact Us

p: 02 9389 6444

e: info@emanuel.org.au

Shabbat Times

Parashat Lech-Lecha
Shabbat, October 31, 2020
13th of Cheshvan, 5781

Candle Lighting
Friday, October 9  6:57PM

Motzei Shabbat 7:03PM

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