The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
But in his Sefer HaTodaah, Eliyahu Kitov writes that the person who never tasted the slavery in Egypt can’t taste the taste of geulah, of redemption. He states that if the Jews hadn’t been enslaved in Egypt, they would never have merited being free people.
The message sounds a lot like “we appreciate and value something more if we at one point didn’t have it (in this case our freedom), and then we acquire it.” But there’s a much more significant point here, one which provides explanation as to why we are obligated to see ourselves as having personally experienced the Exodus from Egypt.
Being free is an ultimate, but there’s one step before that. It’s that transitionary time – the leaving of slavery, the becoming a free person – that’s necessary for true freedom. When one leaves slavery, any slavery, and gains freedom, he gains both the ability to make choices for himself and also a unique awareness of his capacity – the human capacity – to choose, at every single step along the way.
Transitioning to freedom makes one keenly aware of this capacity. The individual who’s always had the ability to choose remains limited in exercising that freedom, lacking a heightened awareness of the power of choice present in all circumstances. He’s stymied when facing tougher choices, unclear ones, abandoning the freedom of choice in situations where it seems as if choice is undesirable or not possible.
The newly freed individual relishes in choice, readily admitting that not all possibilities can be chosen, but knowing that choice, in some shape or form, is always possible.
Every Pesach we gain our freedom by regaining our awareness of our freedom.
We place ourselves at the pivotal point of transitioning from slavery to freedom, reminding ourselves that the ability to choose indeed exists. In every generation we have to see ourselves as just released, newly capable of choice. Nissan reminds us of that power we have; it empowers us to maneuver the world we live in.
We are all born into predetermined circumstances: family, gender, geography, socio-economic situation. Free will, we believe, exists, but not because we can choose the best of all worlds. We can’t, usually. But we can choose something in every situation.
Bechirah, Rav Dessler writes, is about acknowledging truth. We are free to choose what that which we believe to be true. He speaks of the bechirah point, one that shifts, depending on a person’s situation, nature, propensity. As he explains it, easy decisions and extremely difficult ones don’t involve our bechirah chofshis; they’re either too easy or too hard. But the choices that are at the exact point where a person could go either way – these are where the human ability to choose (right over wrong, good over bad, truth over falsehood) forcefully comes into play.
We’re no freer from the challenges of choosing today than we were last year, then we’ll be next year, than people were 3,000 years ago, at the time of the Exodus. And yet we’re as free to choose as people always have been, and as aware people always will be.
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We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”
Once again we find ourselves celebrating the yom tov of Pesach – the same holiday we celebrated last year at this time, and next year we’ll be doing the same.
Traditionally, Pesach commemorates the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt – a pivotal point in our becoming a people: we gained our freedom – physically, and very soon after, spiritually. We refer to the holiday as the time of our freedom – z’man chairusenu – and the Pesach seder, with all its obligations and practices, thoroughly stresses the message of freedom and God’s redemption of the Jewish people throughout the ages.
“Paper Clips,” a documentary filmed over two years, is the important story of an educational initiative, begun in October 1998, that evolved into something greater and unexpected when a student in the Holocaust course at Whitwell asked the question that we might all ask: “What is six million? I’ve never seen that before.”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/gaining-our-freedom-each-and-every-year/2007/03/28/
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