01 April 2012
Springtime for Cynics
When I was a terribly cynical middle-schooler, the choir director taught us a song in four-part harmony, which I could never sing like I meant it:
Now is the month of Maying, when merry lads are playing, fa la la la la la la la la - no, they're not, they're either in math class or doing its homework -
...a-dancing on the grass - what grass? we live in a city, where open spaces are rationed and landscaped,
fa la la la la la la la la. The Spring clad all in gladness/doth laugh at winter's sadness - Spring? Winter? I haven't noticed a change in seasons. I think I need to get out more,
and to the bagpipe's sound/ the nymphs tread out the ground - What era was this composed in, that people had time to frolic in unspoilt meadows, and the peace of mind to do so wholeheartedly?
fa la la la la, fa la la la la la la, la la la la la. Where is that legendary Spring?
And every Pesach, I get my answer.
The air warms up, the earth bursts into bloom, and where are the Jewish people?
Indoors or in the courtyard, scrubbing all the winter's crumbs out of the house, until G-d drags us by the ear out of Egypt, and says, "This month is for you!"
This month is for you the origin of all the months: you are a Spring nation, a people repeatedly revived from the dead.
Go and tell everyone, go demonstrate to all the despairing middle-schoolers (of any age or stage in life), that just as the earth is led each year out of winter, just as the Jewish nation was led out of the slavery of its body, mind, heart and soul in Egypt, so too humanity as a whole, and every individual, are given the Spring.
This month is not the exclusive provenance of things that bloom, creep, or fly; no matter how oppressive your circumstances, this Spring is for you!
Those with better things to read than this blog will recognize that this post is not original material - thank you Rav Hirsch.
And Rabbi Estuary, we'll see if I ever forgive the rav for making me try to paraphrase that :P