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From Egypt to East Cobb

04/24/2019 02:42:20 PM


Rabbi Dan Dorsch

One of the charming little facets of living in East Cobb is you still can find remnants of when this place was mostly farmland. Take the name of the plaza where we shop at Trader Joe’s. It’s called “Pinestraw Plaza.” It gets its name because years ago it was an empty lot on the corner of Roswell Road and Johnson Ferry where a man would sell pine straw out of the back of his truck. The Parkaire Landing shopping complex has its name because before our Kroger, it was a private airport. Walk around East Cobb, and you will find that our neighborhood is littered with mini-family cemeteries that attest to time gone by.

Our Haggadah teaches us that in each generation, we are supposed to see ourselves as if we came out of Egypt. Admittedly, sometimes this can seem like a tall order. Why? Those of us who were born in the later half of the twentieth century have had it pretty good. Avi Shafran writes a meaningful piece in his blog about how pampered he feels on Pesach when he thinks back to his father’s life in Soviet Siberia. For months in 1941, working the fields, his father and friends were able to pocket a few kernels of corn and stash them in a bag. Toward the end of the winter frost, they began the process of grinding the wheat into matzah using parts of a broken clock as a rolling pin.

To think: today, we complain about are the high prices of matzah in the supermarket.

How are we, therefore, supposed to connect to this bygone era of leaving Egypt? Like living in East Cobb, our brilliant Haggadah has created various signposts that are opportunity to help us to recreate the experience: if we are willing to try hard enough. The bitter herbs that we eat are a taste of the bitterness of bondage. The matzah sours in our stomach and may be hard to digest. Today, we comb the internet prior to our Sedarim to look for examples of modern day slavery, all so we can attempt to understand and recreate the experience.

Those of us who have grown up in modern times may struggle to connect to the idea of slavery. We’ve had it pretty good living around the corner from Pinestraw Plaza.

Nonetheless, if we truly focus we too may--even if for a brief moment--empathize with the feeling of yesteryear, when we came out of Egypt.

Mon, June 1 2020 9 Sivan 5780