The first song to be sung at the Passover Seder table tonight should be, “Happy, Birthday to us; Happy Birthday dear People of Israel; Happy Birthday to us.”
The first time in history that Jews were referred to as the “People of Israel’ was when none other than Pharaoh said so, in Exodus (Shmot), Chapter 1, Verse 9:
He [Pharaoh] said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more numerous and stronger than we are.
The Jews left slavery in Egypt as the People of Israel in the year 2448, which is 3327 years ago, according to calculations made by Serbian-born Eliezer Shulman when he was exiled to Siberia by the former Soviet Union.
Until Pharaoh’s paranoia, Jews were never referred to as a “people.” The fact that he saw the Jews as a people underscores the insecurity of his idol worshiping regime.
When Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh, they were not representing themselves. They were speaking not only in the name of God but also in the name for the People of Israel, who eventually left Egypt and 40 years later entered the Land of Israel.
Similarly in Numbers (BaMidbar) chapter 22, Balak, the king of Moab, “became terrified of the people, for they were numerous.”
It is easier to confront individuals in a group than confront a group of individuals.
Historians and non-Jewish clerics always have wondered how the Jews have been able to survive the destruction of the Holy Temples, pogroms, exiles and the Holocaust.
They do not understand because they are not Jews, whose spiritual level of faith is inexplicable
Accompanying the faith is the unity of the Jewish people, who always have been strong when united and weak when divided.
The People of Israel won the right to the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 because they were “one,” regardless of observance, political views and tradition.
Some Jews in Israel opposed the establishment of the State of Israel, but once it became fact, it was the unity of the people that allowed it not only to survive but also to be happy and committed to Zionism during the difficult years of constant Arab attacks and economic hardships.
Leaving the country to live elsewhere was considered a shame on a family.
Israel now is an independent country, but it is not truly independent because the People of Israel, which includes Jews from all over the world, are far from unified.
There is a gap of light years between the differences of opinion within Israel and differences between Israelis and Jews in the Diaspora.
In ancient Egypt, there also were differences between Jews. Torah sages say that only 20 percent of the Jews left slavery. The rest were scoffers who preferred the security of slavery than the security of faith, which won the day.
It did then and it continues to do so today, no matter how much Jews in Diaspora claim they are “Zionists” by living outside Israel and demanding that the Jewish state serve their interests instead of those living in Israel.
We overcame Pharaoh, and this too, we will overcome.
Happy Birthday to us.