As you all know, Passover is tonight. Pesach, 2015, begins at sunset on April 3 and ends at nightfall on April 11. I hope you were able to find Passover t shirts and gifts that you liked at JewTee.com and at our sister Passover shop, Passovergfitshop.com.
Putting aside all the cleaning and cooking, have we really stopped to think about the true meaning of Passover?
Passover celebrates the birth of the Jewish nation. The Lord took the Jews out of their slavery in Egypt and made them into a free nation with a high moral code as elucidated in the Torah. After wandering in the desert for forty years, the Jews conquered and settled in Eretz Yisroel, Israel. They were a sovereign nation for a while, then split into two and subsequently driven from their land. The Jews remained stateless for almost two thousand years.
In the intervening years, many of the ancient peoples disappeared. The mighty Philistines are no more. Neither are the Babylonians and the Assyrians and other powerful nations.
While living in exile, Jews were attacked, killed and driven from the countries they were inhabiting. The Crusaders, inquisitions, pogroms and the Holocaust wiped out large numbers of Jews. Stateless as they were, Jews were still a readily identifiable people whom other nations sought to destroy. But through their religion and shared values, they continued to exist. Miracle of miracles, after almost being totally destroyed, they returned to their land and built a vibrant Jewish state.
As we will read in the Haggadah during the seder, in every generation people rise up against us to annihilate us, but G-d always saves us.
Freedom is not free. Unfortunately, many people have died to enable us to live in freedom. But today, Jews persecuted in other lands know that they have a place to go, that Israel is there for them. It’s ours. It is the homeland of the Jews, a place where every Jew can feel free to practice Judaism. And this freedom of religion is not just for Jews. Unlike other Middle Eastern countries, all people in Israel worship their religion freely.
So as you sit down to enjoy the seders, think about freedom, the price of freedom, the many sacrifices others made so that we can be free. Thank the Lord that you are free, that you are not celebrating the seder in hiding as a Marrano, in fear of anti Semitic mobs, or in secret in a concentration camp barrack. Thank the Lord that you have a Jewish homeland. Enjoy the freedom, and value it.
HAPPY PASSOVER EVERYONE!