We should be moved to action to liberate others from their sufferings
A reflection for Pesach 2017
We at Hiddush realize that we need to view the concept of freedom beyond simply delivery from slavery, and as we celebrate Passover this year, we are ever motivated to bring Israel more fully into a state of religious freedom and equality.
Uri Regev 06/04/2017 01:28
Passover is around the corner, and we will soon assemble with family and friends around the Seder table and discuss the blessing of freedom. We will read the Haggadah and the central commandment that each and every one of us should view him/herself as if they came out of Egypt. It is a very important lesson, because as we look at the pain, suffering, and bondage of so many in the world, such as the misery of millions in Syria today, we should be moved to action, to execute our personal responsibly to liberate others from their sufferings to the best of our abilities.
We at Hiddush realize that we need to view the concept of freedom beyond simply delivery from slavery, and as we celebrate Passover this year, we are ever motivated to bring Israel more fully into a state of religious freedom and equality. Interestingly, the Merriam-Webster definition of “Freedom” mentions slavery only as the second meaning:
Definition of FREEDOM
1: the quality or state of being free: such as
a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another
Religious coercion and many constraints on individual choices and actions are still rampant in Israel, especially for Jews.
Around the Passover table we should double our resolve to work to make that which is so clearly promised in Israel’s Declaration of Independence and is supported by the majority of Israelis – a reality!
Think only of the hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who are denied the right to marry, of the “chained” women who are denied freedom from marriages that no longer work, of the Women of the Wall and egalitarian prayer groups who are denied freedom of worship at the Wall, and you will easily realize that we have our work cut out for us. Around the Passover table we should double our resolve to work to make that which is so clearly promised in Israel’s Declaration of Independence and is supported by the majority of Israelis – a reality!
At a time when even Modern Orthodox Jews from Israel and overseas are shunned by Israel’s monopolistic and coercive Chief Rabbinate, we should take particular exception to the fact that only this week Rabbi David Yosef, a member of the Council of Sages of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, chose to teach that the “Wicked child” of the Haggadah in this generation is the Reform Jew. His brother, Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef attempted to use his authority as President of the Supreme Rabbinic Court of Israel to re-chain a woman who was freed from her marriage to her comatose husband only after many years. Thankfully, Chief Rabbi Yosef was stopped by Israel’s High Court of Justice, reminding us that freedom includes freedom from marriages that are no longer, and that Passover should bring us compassion toward those who cannot get free of such marriages.
We derive encouragement from the support of the public, from the courage of Israel’s High Court of Justice, and from the growing number of Orthodox groups and activists who join the battle for religious freedom and equality, as you can see HERE.
Together we can truly make a difference, bring about freedom in its widest sense, and realize our dreams for Israel and the Jewish People.