I am still on holiday – currently visiting family in LA.
LA is of course famous for its movies and TV shows – it is the heart of all things in the entertainment industry. One of the many things we did while here was to go on the Warner Bros studio tour. It is a fascinating tour as you learn all about how movies and TV shows are made. You get to see certain sets, see props and generally get a much closer look at the industry.
However, one part of it really got me thinking. We had arrived in one of the sound stages and our guide announced that this is where they had actually filmed Annie. A lot of the group I was in, got very excited – we were actually standing in the place where that classic film was shot – wow! Many other times, our guide got similar reaction from the group to places where iconic movies were filmed.
A few months ago, I was also with my family, this time in Israel, for my son’s bar mitzvah. We went for an afternoon to Emek Ha Ela. We climbed a small hill which overlooks the valley – the exact valley where David fought Goliath just under 3000 years ago!
This is no sound stage, or scripted movie. This is our actual history, no actors, no directors just our nation in our land- then and now.
However, you could say we do have the ultimate Director. One person here in LA told us that movie scripts about real events tend to be a bit far-fetched but always within the realms of possibility. No one would believe the impossible.
Then Hollywood would never take on the ‘story’ of the Jewish nation. It is far too miraculous, far too impossible– and we don’t even realise it.
The Sfat Emet expresses this idea in the most beautiful manner.
He asks why we call the procedure of Seder night a ‘Seder’ – the word ‘Seder’ means ‘order’, a regular, predictable series of events. Strange that we celebrate the most potent series of miracles, the sharpest departures from the normal order, with the name Seder, ‘order’!
His answer is unforgettable. For the Jewish people, our natural order is the miraculous! We have a Seder of miracles. We were forged in impossible circumstances, conceived in a blaze of miracles, born beyond time.
Egypt was just the beginning
Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Bzyantines, Crusaders, Spain, Nazis, Soviet Union. They all tried to destroy us, they all failed. This little tiny nation – which for most of our history had no home, no rights, no friends – yet we survived and eventually returned to our homeland after 2000 years of wandering.
That is the greatest miracle of them all.
Despite all odds, the tiny Jewish people not only outlasted the great Empires of Greece and Rome – we came back to where it all began.
That’s a Divine reality that Hollywood could never touch.
Rabbi Andrew Shaw