web analytics
July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Achieving Unity: A Torah Thought For Pesach

Front-Page-041814

Pesach conjures up ideals of freedom. Freedom from slavery, freedom to serve Hashem the way we want without oppression. Indeed, our sages tell us that the prime purpose of being freed from the horrible bondage of Egypt was so that we would “be able to serve Hashem on that mountain [Mt. Sinai, where the Torah was given].”

When one looks at the present condition of the Jewish nation, however, it appears increasingly difficult to feel encouraged. Not only are we still in galus, not only have we not merited the ultimate freedom that will come with the arrival of Mashiach, but it seems that in many parts of the world our freedom to serve Hashem is increasingly being challenged.

Even in places where we have felt relatively at home we are now seeing troubling signs of resurgent anti-Semitism. What one might call genteel anti-Semitism is perhaps even more troubling because it is couched in such terms as “human rights,” “animal rights,” “rights of the child” and similar “social justice” slogans.

Take New York, the city with the highest concentration of Jews outside of Eretz Yisrael. For many years Jews have flourished in New York, and may it be Hashem’s will that they continue to flourish. Nevertheless, a frum Jew there could not be blamed for feeling that his deeply held values are being targeted.

For starters, the New York City Health Department’s legislation regarding a religious issue such as bris milah, with obligations imposed on mohelim, has worried many, not only because of the law itself but also for the precedent it sets –government encroachment into what until now had been treated as a purely religious issue.

Then there was the recent case where the New York City Human Rights Commission sued businesses establishments owned by religious Jews because of signs on the doors asking customers not to dress immodestly. Many observers were scratching their heads wondering why upscale Manhattan restaurants routinely have rules regarding dress and decorum while Orthodox businesses now faced the wrath of the Human Rights Commission for nearly identical conduct.

America has been such a safe haven for Jews for many reasons, but one prime reason was that traditional moral values always characterized the country. And the American motto of “live and let live” provided a modicum of protection while allowing people to live their lives in consonance with their conscience.

Today, if you oppose the “progressive” agenda and take issue with the immorality that is so prevalent, you will be labeled a racist, anti-progress, anti-women, etc. These labels can have very serious social and legal consequences.

Despite all this, America remains one of the better places for Jews. Jews in France are emigrating in droves due to rampant and violent anti-Semitism on the part of Muslim extremists there. The authorities are either unable or unwilling to stop it. Although the situation in England is not nearly as bad as it is in France, British Jews are very apprehensive about the growth of Muslim extremism and what it will mean for the continuing viability of England’s Jewish community.

In Belgium, the government has issued an edict that will force all schools, even religious schools, to teach a government-mandated curriculum that counters our deeply held religious values.

Even in Eretz Yisrael, our beloved homeland, it seems that many segments of the population feel despised, barely tolerated for their religious lifestyle and under constant assault by the courts and the government.

* * * * *

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews. There is strife everywhere; there is so much sinas chinam, lashon hara, and plain old ill will between different communities.

About the Author: Rav Dovid Hofstedter is the founder and nasi of Dirshu and mechaber of the Dorash Dovid sefarim on the Torah and Moadim.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Achieving Unity: A Torah Thought For Pesach

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. July 29, 2015.
Bibi on Iran Deal: ‘We Aren’t Partners at the Table, We Are a Meal on the Menu’ [VIDEO]
Latest Indepth Stories
Talks between Iran and the P5+1 were likely to be extended beyond Obama's self-imposed deadline.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

{Originally posted to the author’s website, FirstOne Through} Some passionate and eloquent liberals have bemoaned the state of inclusiveness among Jews today. Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic penned an angry piece “J Street’s Rejection Is a Scandal” about the exclusion in 2014 of J Street from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. […]

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

J Street is the vanguard (Jewish face)in support of Obama’s Vienna Accords Nuclear Deal with Iran

More Articles from Rav Dovid Hofstedter
A still from recently unearthed FoxMovieTone Film

We are grateful to Hashem that we have been privileged to institute this program and that over the years we have experienced tremendous siyata d’shmaya, with the program spreading throughout the world and its membership rapidly rising.

An Orthodox Jewish man blows the shofar near the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel's Old City.

Rav Shlomo Wolbe states that every member of Klal Yisrael is dependent on the entire nation just as a leaf depends on the tree from which it grows.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

Achdus, unity, is a term that warms the heart. It is an ideal we all aspire to achieve but often find so elusive.

We are still in galus. Another year has gone by, a difficult year in many ways, but Mashiach has not yet arrived, the Beis HaMikdash has not yet been rebuilt and we are still languishing in exile.

“Therefore we are obligated to give thanks…to the One Who performed all these miracles for our forefathers and for us. He took us out from slavery to freedom…and from servitude to redemption.” – Haggadah shel Pesach

Every Jew’s soul is a piece of the Divine essence, hewn from beneath the Throne of Glory.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/achieving-unity-a-torah-thought-for-pesach/2014/04/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: