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Why is an egg an integral part of the Pesach Seder?
I heard a beautiful answer from the beloved rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, shlita.
An egg is unique. Other births are one step: the baby is born. But an egg is a two-step process: the egg is laid and then the baby must work hard, pecking its way out from within.
This symbolizes what happens between Passover and Shavuot. On Passover, the nation of Israel was released, like the egg. We appeared as a new entity. But we were not yet born. We began the process of emerging from within the egg, from darkness to light, preparing ourselves to assume our true role as the servants of Almighty God.
And we had to work. Forty-nine days of exertion.
It is dark inside that egg. Sometimes it seems we are surrounded by darkness.
During Sefira, we adopt an attitude of semi-mourning. It is not unusual to see an otherwise very neat Jewish man going around with a three-week growth of beard.
What do others think? Perhaps they say, “Why do these Jews look so messy? Don’t they care about their appearance?”
In fact, I would suggest this is an integral part of our preparation for accepting the Torah. We are the nation that clings with total devotion to God, despite the taunts and jeers of the entire world. They go their way and we go our way.
The first blessing of Shemoneh Esrei ends with the words “magen Avraham.” Why only Avraham? Isn’t God also the Shield of Isaac and Jacob? Perhaps our rabbis are reminding us how our nation began. Avraham was entirely alone in the world. Alone! There was no Jewish community, no gedolim to guide him, no roshei yeshiva, no Vaad, no Jewish structure – in fact, no Jews at all.
Our father Avraham was alone with his God, alone in a hostile and predatory world, and God protected him. God was his shield.
And so it is with us.
We should know we are also alone in the world. We have basically no friends, despite what they may say. Our only friend is God. For two thousand years we have been execrated and mocked, shoved from one alien culture to another. And yet God has saved us every moment. God, the Shield of Avraham, is also our Shield – the Shield of Avraham’s Children.
Now, when the nations of the world surround us with their pretensions of power, we must remember that our Father in Heaven is the Ruler of the world. The pope comes to our Holy Land and declares that he is in favor of a state for our enemies. The president of the United States attempts to coerce the Children of Israel to give away that Holy Land to our enemies.
Children of Esau, the Torah warns you: the Creator of the Universe bequeathed that Land to the Children of Israel and not to anyone else. As Rashi comments on Genesis 1:1, “If the nations of the world will say to Israel, ‘You are thieves, for you conquered the lands of the seven nations [who inhabited the Land of Canaan,’ then Israel] will say to them, ‘The whole earth belongs to the Holy One, Blessed is He. He created it and He gave it to the one found proper in His eyes. By His wish He gave it to them, and by His wish He took it from them and gave it to us.’”
My wife and I were recently in the Pacific Northwest, where we saw Mount St. Helens, which erupted in a volcanic cataclysm at 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980. The insides of that mountain blew 80,000 feet in the air and four states became dark as night.
That is but an infinitesimal example of the power of the One Who created the universe.
Do you, alleged rulers of nations, believe you can interfere with the will of the Ruler of the Universe? Do you think you can prevent God from bringing His children back to their Land to live there eternally in peace and sanctity?
Your time is growing short, arrogant ones. Your mountain is about to explode. If you dare to stand in the way of the Eternal One, your world will be pulverized, just as God pulverized the Generation of the Flood, the Generation of Babel, Pharaoh, Haman, and all His enemies through the ages. One minute you strut before the world; the next minute you are dust and worms.
About the Author: Roy Neuberger's latest book, “2020 Vision” (Feldheim) is available in English, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Russian, and Georgian. An e-edition is available at www.feldheim.com. Roy is also the author of "From Central Park to Sinai: How I Found My Jewish Soul” (available in English, Hebrew and Russian, and Georgian) and “Worldstorm.” Roy and Leah Neuberger speak publicly on topics related to his books and articles. He can be contacted at email@example.com or through his websites www.tosinai.com and www.2020visionthebook.com.
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Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.
I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”
His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.
At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel
“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”
Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning
Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.
He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.
Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.
Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.
Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed
Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.
For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.
Our rabbis told us it’s going to be very difficult before Mashiach comes. Should we fool ourselves?
The unwarranted hatred among us that caused the destruction of the Second Temple clearly still plagues us.
At the end of the harvest, winter begins. The earth becomes cold and hard, nights are long, and the sun seems far away in the southern sky. The sap ceases to flow in the trees. But in this season of temporary “death” Hashem sends down harbingers of coming life in the form of tal u’matar livrachah – dew and rain for a blessing – upon the earth.
“Logically” speaking, after the millennia of hatred and destruction directed against us, there should not be one Jew in the world today who still keeps the Torah.
They were lining up for gas masks in Israel.
Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/shield-of-avraham/2009/05/27/
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