Chaviva, our beloved JGU choir head, has been helping us get into the true Pesach spirit, with some joyous and beautiful singing!
Last Sunday, in Creative Online Club, Chaviva sang the soulful “Vehi Sheomdo” song, that we recite or sing near the beginning of the Maggid– when we read the Haggadah.
The following is a recording of Chaviva and her mother singing this song, and please see below for the lyrics (in Hebrew, transliteration, and translation), and a brief explanation of the song:
וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵיֽנוּ וְלָנֽוּ. שֶׁלֹא אֶחָד בִּלְבָד, עָמַד עָלֵיֽנוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנֽוּ. אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר, עוֹמְדִים עָלֵיֽנוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנֽוּ. וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַצִּילֵנוּ מִיָּדָם
Vehi sheamdah la’avoseinu velanu shelo echad bilvad amad alaynu lechaloysaynu. Elah shebechal dohr vadohr omdim alaynu lechaloysaynu veHakadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu meeyadam.
And this has stood by our fathers and us, for not just one rose against us to annihilate us, but in every generation there are those who rise to annihilate us. And the Holy One Blessed is He saves us from their hands.
“Vehi Sheomdo la’avoteinu v’lanu – And this has stood by our forefathers, and us.”
What exactly has stood by us? What kind of support is this hopeful song referring to?
There are many interpretations. But one of the clearest, is that this support, that’s been sustaining us since the times of our forefathers, is Hashem’s Promise.
Immediately preceding the song of Vehi Sheomdo, we recount the prophecy that Hashem relayed to Avraham:
“You (Avraham) must know, that your children will be strangers in a land not their own. They will be enslaved and oppressed for 400 years… But the nation who will persecute them will be judged. And afterwards, they shall go forth with great wealth!”
Hashem has reminded us of His eternal promise again and again throughout our history, first to the Avraham Avinu, and then to the Nevi’im.
In every era of our existence, we’ve been oppressed and persecuted, not just by one poisonous person, but by hateful nations!
Yet, we’re still here. We’re surviving on our faith and hope in Hashem, and His word, even when all else has been lost. And even amidst all the pain, Hashem has never let us go.
As we say at the end of Vehi Sheomdo: “V’Hakadosh Baruch Hu matzileinu miyadam – But the Holy One, Blessed Be He, has delivered us out of their (the enemies’) hands.”
He is always watching over us, from the pits of Egyptian slavery, to Roman persecution, to pogroms of Eastern Europe, during war against Eretz Yisrael, and everything else in between.
Contemplate our past. It may be dimmed with darkness and nisyonos, but it is also alight with hope. Take in the beauty of the present, with all your loved ones around you at your Seder, as Klal Yisrael celebrates our freedom, together. And gaze towards our future, the light at the end of the tunnel, when Hashem’s promise will be fulfilled.
When our nisayon of Galus finally ends, we will “go forth in great wealth”, lead the way into our future, with fortunes of Torah, life, and love, that we can only begin to imagine the splendor of.
All of JGU wishes you a kosher, meaningful, and very happy Pesach, and may we merit the Ultimate Geulah right now!!!