Dear Readers,

In Southern New Jersey this year, we were fortunate to enjoy a mild winter. But in mid-March, just as we expected the first spring blooms, forecasters predicted a blizzard that would blanket us with one, or possibly two, feet of snow.

Signs along all the major highways cautioned against travel, due to the impending Nor’easter. A state of emergency was declared throughout much of the Northeastern United States, from Pennsylvania to Maine, urging people to stay put. Government offices and schools were announcing closures well ahead of time. Everyone was talking about winter storm Stella.

The night before the blizzard, my husband went to the supermarket to pick up a few essentials. The store was packed with like-minded shoppers, many also purchasing batteries and flashlights for the power outings that often accompany such severe weather. Many of the shelves were picked bare.

And then, the next morning, we woke to . . . nothing but a little inclement weather. While areas north and west of us did indeed experience the wrath of the long-anticipated storm, where we live, it was downgraded to heavy rains. Apparently, a few degrees of change in temperature completely altered our situation. Schools and stores were open. Our shovels that were standing at attention were abandoned, and our schedules resumed as normal.

Isn’t life like that? We anticipate something, good or bad, and we prepare for its affects. And then life surprises us. A few degrees, a slight change, and the results are vastly different.

The holiday of Passover will soon be upon us. The beaten slaves who had been subjected to backbreaking labor and unspeakable horrors were freed, while their Egyptian taskmasters were exposed to devastating plagues. As the masters drowned in the waters of the Red Sea, the freed slaves trekked to Mount Sinai to be chosen as G‑d’s people.

“In every generation, each Jew should see himself as though he personally had been liberated from Egypt.” This festival of freedom teaches us that even when the situation seems hopeless, when G‑d wills, it can be totally reversed.

We don’t always (do we ever?!) understand G‑d’s plan. Whether it’s the small things in life (like the nuisance of a winter storm in the spring) or in more important ones (like the major challenges that confront us), Divine Providence alone determines our fate.

Wishing each and every one of you liberation from the constraints and struggles of your lives! May we all experience personal, as well as national redemption, this Passover!

Wishing you a happy and kosher Passover!

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW