Four years ago, in March 2020, when Covid-19 was widespread, I asked the boys in my class to share Divrei Torah with their grandparents, many of whom would be lonely that year for the seder. One boy shared a moving Dvar Torah written as a letter to his grandparents:

Dearest Zaidy and Bubby,

I am saddened by the thought that we won’t be able to have the Seder together, but I want you to read this D’var Torah and feel that we are together in spirit.

At one point in the Haggadah, we say Baruch HaMakom. Why do we say HaMakom? This lashon is usually used during sad events. ‘HaMakom Yenachem Eschem’ for mourners, ‘HaMakom Yerachem Alahem’ for those trapped in a foreign land, and ‘HaMakom Y’malae Chesronuch’ for those who lose money. So, why are we now using this Lashon? A person may wonder, “How could Hashem have let this happen?”

We say HaMakom -- The Place -- to show that Hashem is everywhere, is in control, protecting you, and with you always. Then why do we say this at the Seder? The Seder is a time for great happiness. The word HaMakom may seem out of place?

A person may think that everything is bad. Look around now! Thousands have died all over the world because of the Coronavirus. Many people are seriously ill. Families cannot be together for Yom Tov. Many people have lost their parnasa. Yet, we must still think, “It’s okay, Hashem has our back.” Even in these days we must have faith that everything is okay and say Baruch HaMakom!

Love, Your Adoring Grandson

It’s often during the dark times that we hope for that special connection.

In the winter of 2018, Devorah Rosenberg* was experiencing chest pains. She was a young woman but wanted to make sure she was OK. The doctor was alarmed and sent her for an EKG which Baruch Hashem came back OK. However, follow-up blood tests revealed a potential other issue, and Devorah was sent for an MRI. It was 3:00 on a winter afternoon, and her husband was left at home with the children as she went for testing. There was a sense of fear of the unknown that enveloped the home. The young children were playing nicely but as the minutes turned into hours, they were getting uneasy. Sunset came and the sunny afternoon turned into a very dark night. Yitzchok*, their four-year-old son, was looking out the window and cried out, “Mommy, when will you come home”?

The father related to me that at that moment he understood what it meant to long for the geulah.

It’s been a long, dark winter. It’s hard to believe that it was during the last yom tov that the war began. However, from the dark is when we could cry out for the geulah. The seder takes on a new dimension as the ugly head of antisemitism rises once again in our generation.

This year we have the opportunity like never before to reflect on the past miracles of Hashem and daven for the future. “Tatty, when will you come home”?

With that, may we be zoche to L'Shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim.

Rabbi Moshe Dov Heber is presently a Middle School Rebbi in Yeshiva K’tana of Waterbury, the Director of the Mishmar Evening Program in Waterbury, and Division Head in Camp Romimu. He is a frequent contributor to various publications on areas related to education as well as speaks publicly on various topics. Rabbi Heber could be reached via email at