Ya'aleh v'yavo hit me hard during Pesach

During the festivals and some other special times throughout the year, we add or adjust prayers to reflect these special times. This includes specifying the day -- we call Pesach by name and also refer to it as z'man cheruteinu, the season of our freedom.

One of the additions is a prayer called Ya'aleh v'yavo, where we ask for specific kindnesses from the Almighty. And so it was that during Pesach, z'man cheruteinu, I found myself saying roughly:

Our God and God of our fathers, show us your care and concern. Remember our ancestors, recall your anointed, protect Yerushalayim your holy city, and exalt all your people Yisrael with life and well-being, contentment and peace, on this Festival of Matzot. Grant us life and blessing, and remember us for good. Recall your promise of mercy and redemption. [...]

There I was praying for life and prosperity and well-being in the season of our freedom, and even more than what has become usual since October 7, the discordance hit me hard. We who can stand in synagogues and pray these words have life and well-being and, I hope, some measure of contentment and peace, unlike our fellow Jews who for over 200 days now have faced cruelty rivaling that of Paro in Mitzrayim, and while many in the world (and close to home) celebrate the cruelty and call for more suffering and pain and pogroms. I knew all of that in my head and we've all seen it play out for months, and then there I was, praying Ya'aleh v'yavo in freedom, and... bam. This year it is not about my freedom when (as the haggadah tells us) I went out of Egypt's cruel oppression. This year it is about the victims of today's evil oppressors. I pray that the next time I say these words, it will be in celebration of everyone's freedom from the cruel reign of Hamas.