Everything Will Not Be Alright

This is how you shall eat your Passover offering: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it b’hippazon (Exodus 12:11)—in hurried, harried, anxious haste.

Everything will not be alright in the morning. For then, you will have to leave even your meager peace of mind.

The way out of Egypt begins at the blood-painted door that no longer secures safety. The negef —pestilence—kept at bay last night becomes a nagif —a virus. Everything will not be alright in the morning.

You will take your hippazon —your vulnerability—with you.

A far-seeing prophet imagined a time of leaving the final Egypt behind. Only in that moment would there be no hippazon, no panicked flight (Isaiah 52:12). Until then, hippazon remains a true carrier of experience. Without its necessary weight, we risk making light of the story.

Why is this year different from all other years? This year’s hippazon —the harried, hesitant uncertainty—must not hide behind the comforting, familiar words and songs of the Seder.

Everything will not be alright in the morning; to pretend so is to undermine the deep, necessary truth of the story that must be told in order to move forward.

Seeing himself like one who has come out of Egypt, Yehuda Amichai understands that uncertainty is the very continuity of his life:

What is the continuity of my life?
I am like one who left Egypt
With the Red Sea split in two and I passing through on dry ground
With two walls of water on my right and on my left.
Behind me Pharaoh’s force and his chariots and before me the wilderness
and perhaps the promised land. This is the continuity of my life.


Walls of water on either side, thundering danger behind, an uncharted wilderness before, and only a “perhaps” out of sight, beyond the horizon.

Let the truth of the hippazon be of service. Everything will not be alright in the morning.
This entry was posted in Holidays, Passover, Poetry, Torah. Bookmark the permalink.

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