Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Pesach - The Freedom of Children

Expand Messages
  • Gerald Fry
    Have a good Shabbat. Rabbi Tzvi Pesach - The Freedom of Children Each holiday in the Jewish calendar has a theme associated with it. Pesach is the holiday of
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2004
    • 0 Attachment

      Have a good Shabbat.
      Rabbi Tzvi

      Pesach - The Freedom of Children

      Each holiday in the Jewish calendar has a theme associated with it.
      Pesach is the holiday of the emancipation of the Jewish people from
      the bondage of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. As such, the theme of this
      time period is Freedom, as it says in the prayers, “the time of our

      Holidays in Judaism are much more than commemorative events of some
      occurrence long, long ago. As the expression implies, “the time of
      our freedom” is in the present, not in the past. We experience
      freedom and we experience it now when we celebrate Pesach. Freedom is
      in the air during this part of the year. Certainly, we see this in
      nature with the onset of Spring.  Life begins anew as it bursts out
      of the darkness of winter. The redemption from Egypt confirms that
      the Hebrew month, Nissan, is the time of self-determination, choice
      and liberty, for all time.

      It must be understood that the slavery in Egypt was not only physical
      slavery, but that it was also the mental, psychological and spiritual
      slavery as well. To live in Egypt was to be bound and stuck into a
      mode of relentless and useless work that had little personal benefit.
      It was the tedious and stifling laboring for another that created no
      sense of self, or self-satisfaction.

      In the short synopsis of the historical events surrounding the
      Exodus, the Haggada mentions that the Jews were “few in number …
      seventy individuals ” when they initially went down to Egypt under
      Jacob and Joseph's leadership. The very next phrase the Haggada uses
      to describe the Jewish people is that “ 'there he (Jacob) became a
      nation' - which teaches that Israel was distinct in Egypt.” We see at
      the outset, in the initial stages of our nationhood, that the Jewish
      people were anything but wallflowers. “Jacob and Sons” were a clan of
      just 70, yet somehow they stood out among the myriad of Egyptians.
      From the very beginning of our existence we have had the uncanny
      ability to be noticed in whatever crowd and society we are in.
      Enslavement is not the natural order for anyone who craves the right
      and need to express him or herself freely. It certainly is not the
      case for the Jew, whose very existence at the outset seems to be
      defined by an ability to be different, unique, and exceptional
      wherever we go and however small we may be.

      The Egyptians hoped that they could destroy our energy and vitality
      through backbreaking labor, where the back is broken not only by the
      difficulty of the tasks, but also by the sheer boredom and tedium of
      the work. The slavery in Egypt was the attempt to crush the Jewish
      spirit that thrives on growth and change. Egypt was Germany - cold,
      dark, lifeless, and gray. It had no care for freedom, or of freedom's
      closest companion - creativity. It is no accident that societies like
      Egypt of 3500 years ago, Germany of 50 years ago, or Palestinians
      today are so heartless and callous to children. The Egyptians wanted
      to kill all the male babies, and shoved them into the buildings as
      bricks for the pyramids that the Jews were forced to build; and it
      was the Germans who wiped out 1.5 million Jewish children, or the
      Palestinians who turn their children into walking bombs.  Children,
      without a care in the world, most represent freedom, vitality and
      boundless creativity in life. Egypt, Germany and Palestinians, who
      care less of freedom, creativity, and hence, of life itself, have no
      qualms in destroying the greatest expressions of the endless love of
      life and freedom that children represent.

      It is therefore only fitting and appropriate that we answer this
      death, darkness and confinement by having the children as the focal
      point of the Haggada and of the Seder. We answer stifling boredom and
      the insane need for inane order with the carefree laughter and
      questioning curiosity of children who seek to explore and discover
      life's endless opportunities. So on Seder night, let the voices of
      Jewish children rise up to ask and sing. Allow the disorderly,
      unfettered exuberance of children to lead us to the freedom and life
      we all seek.

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.