On this Shabbat we have a special Torah and haftarah reading in celebration of the Festival of Passover. The haftarah comes to us from the book of Second Samuel. Like First and Second Kings, the books of Samuel are a collection of theological-historical works. According to tradition, the books of Samuel were composed by the prophet-warrior by the same name and are mostly focused on the reigns of Saul and David.
In this haftarah reading, we find a song composed by David, thanking God for his deliverance from the hands of his enemies. The reason why it is read on Shabbat-Pesach is because the themes contained therein parallels the deliverance of our ancestors from the hands of the Egyptians.
David’s song begins, “The Eternal is my rock, my fortress, my refuge. God is my rock where I seek shelter, my shield, the source of my salvation. My deliverer, You save me from violence.”1 In David’s words we can hear the relief and the exaltation, but mostly we hear the words of gratitude.
In times of great stress, suffering, and anxiety, it is hard to find the words or even the emotions of gratitude especially for those who have suffered and lost so much. A year ago we were praying that this pandemic would leave our midst speedily and soon, yet it lingers. Even when more and more are receiving the vaccine, we are not yet safe. At the same time, we are grateful for having made it to this season, even if we have not yet been redeemed. With David, gratitude and redemption go hand in hand, but with us, we still have to demonstrate patience and caution.
Sadly, the numbers in our communities are trending in the wrong direction even as the promise of a better day is just beginning to dawn on the horizon. Even though we give thanks for having been saved from our enemy, the pandemic so far, we know much work remains to be done. On this Shabbat-Pesach we give thanks for today, but we also remain ever vigilant so that we can be ready to rejoice tomorrow.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,
Rabbi Benjamin A. Sharff
1 2 Samuel 22:2-3