|Pesach: The Call to Remember|
by Jonathan Roush
Beth Messiah, Gaithersburg, MD
I recently read that Jews are not simply commanded to believe in the Torah, but that commitment to faith in the Torah also requires the act of remembering. Whether it is remembering the Shabbat, or remembering to blow the shofar at the appointed times, the call is to “Remember.” Of course it's not simply an action of our brains recalling events. Tied to these remembrances are actions.
Today I woke up and got out of bed. I walked to the kitchen and found myself starting at matzah. Dry matzah. Even looking at it makes my mouth yearn for water. “Oh yeah, I remember. No bread.” I am sure that this experience is familiar to many of us. Yes, this is part of how we remember God's rescue of the Israelites from Egypt. This is how Jews are commanded to memorialize the journey that the Israelites undertook in haste one day long ago. Jews all over the world are re-enacting and identifying through personal experience God's wonderful deliverance from slavery into freedom saying, “I do this ‘because of what Adonai did for me when I went free from Egypt’” (Exodus 13:8). Remembering is at the heart of who God has created us to be and what he has called us to do.
Of course, this deliverance from Egypt was just the beginning of Israel's journey. Following the Exodus, God provided manna.
He brought them to Mount Sinai.
There he gave them the Torah and established an everlasting covenant with them.
He tabernacled among his people.
He led them to victory over their enemies and into the Promised Land.
He promised the Messiah.
In modern times, we stand poised to remember the victims of the Holocaust. Next week on April 19 the State of Israel will deliberately come to a complete standstill at 10 am for 2 minutes. Amidst the sound of sirens people will stop talking, stop walking and even stop driving—deliberately altering their normal routines in order to remember.
As disciples of Yeshua there is another vital call for us to “Remember” that is intimately tied to this Passover season: “Do this in remembrance of me.”
Luke 22 brings us to the evening of Yeshua’s last meal. He asked Peter and John to go ahead and find a place where they could all eat the Passover meal together. While at dinner Yeshua
“took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, ‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:17-19 ESV)
One of Yeshua’s last acts with his disciples was to give them and us a memorial, a ceremony whereby we purposely disrupt our normal routine, quiet ourselves and actively engage. Through our participation today we are able to re-enact, in part, that final meal, and we are able to keep close the memory and reality of his sacrifice for all of us.
Through our participation we are also actively remembering Yeshua’s promise to triumphantly return and set creation right. We remember and hold fast to the promises that Israel will once again be “a crown of beauty, in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” When Israel will “no more be termed ‘Forsaken’”, and when the “land shall no more be termed ‘Desolate’”, but instead she will “be called ‘My Delight Is in Her’”(Isaiah 62: 3-4 ESV) .
Deut. 7:18-19 says "Remember ... the mighty hand and the outstretched arm with which the Eternal your God brought you out [of Egypt]."
As we close out this season of Passover let us continue to remember in full not only HaShem’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt but also the redemption of the entire world through Yeshua’s sacrifice. May each of us remember with solemnity and gratitude the Mighty Hand that reached into our past and guides our present, and may we continue to lookforward, filled with faith and hope, at his outstretched arm reaching into our future.