"Hashata Hacha...," now, we are here, in Chicago..."L'Shana Ha'Ba B'ar'a D'Yisrael...," but next year, in the land of Israel. Jews around the world said these words on the night of Pesach at the Seder. THIS year, these words took on an entirely new meaning. As I sat there at the Seder (and again at the second Seder), I thought about these words at the beginning of the Haggada and the "L'shana Ha'ba'a Birooshalayim," at the end of the Haggada, and I smiled to myself. Finally, after all of these years of yearning and waiting, B'ezrat Hashem these words that I was saying were coming to fruition. But at the same time, it was a moment that was bittersweet as well. I looked around the Seder table at my parents' home and looked at my parents, at all my siblings, nephews, nieces, brother-in-law and sister-in-law and realized that this would be the very last time we would (in all likelihood) be sitting together at a Seder. That surely is a sad thought. Yes, as I said before there will be things that I will miss, and the Seder night with my Chicago family will be one of those things. But...I WILL NOT MISS A SECOND SEDER!!!!!!!!!! To me, for the last many years, the Second Seder presented a major challenge for me. It was the most "Galut" feeling I could experience the entire year, yet I needed to be involved in the Seder no different than the night before.
As soon as Shabbat was over, I also realized that this was the VERY LAST 3-day Yom Tov that I would have for the rest of my life IY"H (Of course, when Rosh Hashana falls on Thursday, even in Israel it will be a three-day event. This will occur in 5771 and, yes, I have already checked!)
[One last thing...the other day, I posted about Birkat HaChama and said that the next one will occur on the day after Pesach in 2037. Someone pointed out to me (and correctly!) that this happens the day after Pesach outside of Israel, but IN Israel it will be two days after Pesach. I wouldn't want you writing down the wrong date!]