`317 A Lifesaving Lesson From the Haggadah
Chananya Weissman

April 22, 2024



In a few hours we will read a simple, straightforward line in the Haggadah that you probably know by heart. If people paid attention to what they were reading and internalized the message – which is the point, after all – we would be far less vulnerable to the threats against us.

We would see through our enemies who come dressed as friends, we would see through the Erev Rav who come dressed as upstanding Jews, even rabbis, and we would be on high alert when they come to “protect” us from danger. We would not be such easy prey and run eagerly into their every trap.

We might even develop the courage to disobey them and, with Hashem's help, expunge them from our midst.

The line I am referring to is as follows:

שלא אחד בלבד עמד עלינו לכלותנו אלא שבכל דור ודור עומדים עלינו לכלותינו

For not only one stood up against us to wipe us out, but in every generation they stand up against us to wipe us out.

We say this every year, we sing it joyously, but do we even understand what it means? Do we believe it?

Do we really believe that the Holocaust never really ended, but it was just a temporary cease-fire so our enemies could recalibrate?

Do we really accept that the countries that defeated the Nazis were not particularly opposed to their plans for the Jewish people? That they in fact welcomed Nazi leaders into their lands (Israel included) and gave them high positions, so the Nazis could teach them all they knew about desensitizing a population, dehumanizing a group of people, and systematically murdering them with great efficiency – with many of the victims continuing to trust and obey them until the very end?

Do we fully grasp the implications of this and realize that this actually matters, to this very day?

Do we really believe that every single generation in history, including our parents' generation and this generation, our enemies are hard at work trying to destroy us?

This is not referring only to some clownish leader of an insignificant country who pines for the destruction of Israel, but has no wherewithal to achieve his dreams. It's referring to the clownish and not-so-clownish leaders of the most powerful countries in the world, including your own. Some of them disguise their true feelings and intentions better than others, but as we speak they are plotting and conspiring to destroy us. They have done this every generation in history, without exception.

Everyone will say this in a few hours, but very few of us really believe it.

That makes us very easy prey.

This is not a new problem. The Jews in Germany didn't believe it. The Jews throughout Europe didn't believe it, even when their brothers escaped from the camps and came to warn them. The Jews in “Palestine” didn't believe it about the British and their Arab neighbors. The Jews throughout our troubled history didn't believe it wherever they found a bit of respite and so much as a lukewarm welcome.

The Jews in America, Europe (what are Jews still doing in Europe?!), and around the world still don't believe it today.

Sure, Iran wants to destroy Israel, but we got that covered. We have a "Jewish" army, and "Jewish" leaders, and international support. Right.

As long as we have enemies who make no attempt to disguise their intentions, we tend to overlook the ones who do. In fact, we embrace them. We run to them for support. We overlook all the red flags. We rationalize all their betrayals. We refuse to even entertain the possibility that when the cameras are off and they sit among themselves, they seethe with hatred for us and plot our destruction.

Impossible! This time it's different. It can't happen here.

We refuse to believe that people who are openly at war with God would seek to shut down shuls and yeshivos any way they can.

We refuse to believe that enemies who come dressed as friends – and even as Jews – would work day and night to infiltrate our yeshivos, take over our institutions, control our media, and poison our minds from every direction.

We refuse to believe that people who loathe the sight of religious Jewish children, who deem them an existential threat to the Erev Rav gangsters who control Israel, would actually try to harm them with “safe and effective” shots, or manufactured crises and wars.

We lie to ourselves and mock people who actually believe what they read at the Seder. Only crazy people think that they are actually trying to destroy us today, same as always.

How would people have reacted differently the last few years alone, during the Covid shmad and subsequent assaults on our bodies, minds, and souls, if they simply internalized this one line from the Haggadah?

In every generation they rise up against us to destroy us. “They” refers to the most powerful people in the world – including the leaders of your own country, wherever you are, Erev Rav Israel included.

They do not always try to destroy us with swords, or bullets, or gas chambers, or ovens. Sometimes they have to be more subtle. They have to use artifice to disarm us and make us easier prey.

But, one way or another, they are always plotting our destruction and working day and night to make it happen.

Hashem will save us, as He always does. But how painful it has to be, how many casualties we have to suffer along the way, is primarily up to us.

This year, don't just read the words. Think about them. Internalize the deep, divine truth contained in them.

When enough of us do that and make better decisions accordingly, we will finally merit to see better results.



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