This past summer when we did our road-trip to Florida we stayed at the Homewood Suites in Savannah GA on our trip home. It was a leg up from the type of place where we’d usually stay. One thing we kept noticing was the duck logo everywhere. We learned that this duck even has a name “Lewis” and this mascot even had his own balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. What’s up with the duck?

When we went to check out, I couldn’t help but ask the lady at the desk: “Why the duck?” She pointed to a sign in the lobby that explained: Just as a duck is at home in all environments: water, land and air – so, too, they hoped their guests would feel comfortable with their stay no matter how far they traveled or where they were coming from. 

Nice message! This is indeed a valuable goal to feel at home no matter where we find ourselves. Jewishly, this is true as well. No matter the setting or circumstance, regardless of the conditions or surroundings, we must be true to ourselves and find ways to express our Jewish identity wherever we are. A duck has within itself all the tools necessary – wings and waterproofing, webbed feet – whatever it takes to survive and thrive in any environment. 

Of course, all this also relates to the 7th Day of Passover when the Sea split and the Jewish people passed through the water on dry land. Like a duck – in water, dry land, all of that works. 

Now in which environment of these three: water, land and air, do you think a duck feels most at home, seems most natural?

I guess there could be different answers for this but most (at the Passover YomTov lunch when we shared this) said in the water. Aha, you’re right – ducks seems to float and glide effortlessly in the water. But wait – if you look underneath the surface (such as through aquarium glass) you’ll see that beneath the surface they are paddling away, using their feet to propel themselves. It may seem easy and natural but it takes active effort. There’s a lesson here for us never to take any situation for granted, but to always put in effort!