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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘slaves’

This Ain’t Torah

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Harassment and exploitation (not only in the area of sex) are expressions of abuse of power. This must be the common denominator to jealousy, lust, and ambition, which, according to the Mishna “remove man from the world.”

The most serious aspect of the Rabbi Motti Elon scandal is the fact that it emanated from a cult, defaming Judaism and the Torah itself, God forbid. I’ve been watching and hearing criticism of the path of the Torah – because of this news item about a sect that’s following its charismatic leader whose every word and action are subject to their adoration.

The phenomena of such unworthy leaders are typical of almost every such cult.

The despicable acts of indecency are not the problem here, they’re merely the symptoms. The problem is the cult, its mentality and dynamics.

We must make it clear that a cult not only does not represent the Torah and its followers – it is absolutely anti-Torah. It is wrong, detestable, despicable and an abomination.

Now we must admit a few unpleasant facts:

This kind of cult is typical of our generation, very in and new-age.

The fact that someone’s guru hasn’t yet made an appearance as a defendant on the nightly news does not mean the guru phenomenon is kosher.

The entire Jewish culture, starting with the Bible and going all the way to the latest commentators, repeats time and again the value of freedom. Our tradition demands of us to remain free, slaves only to the Eternal who is above all humans – and it absolutely forbids us to go back to being slaves of slaves.

The most despicable person is the slave whose master pierced his ear after he had said “I love my master” – choosing a love for flesh and blood over love of the Divine.

Not forced slavery, but rather willful slavery, the conscious choosing of subjugation, is the most repulsive level of the anti-Jewish existence.

That’s what every cult does, it may even be the most profound definition of what’s wrong with every cult.

We’ve seen these phenomena in the town of Migdal, in northern Israel, where Rabbi Motti Elon ruled over his cult of admirers.

There were times when I liked Rabbi Motti Elon very much, especially his classes. I still think he is one of the most gifted men of our generation. But I recall how surprised I was when I first saw the ads that were plastered in the streets of Jerusalem, inviting people to his “tish.”

Tish? This Zionist Yeke (German Jew) is having a tish?

Since that time, I’ve kept my distance.

I won’t claim to have presaged that these “tishes” would eventually turn into a cult, including the embarrassing and revolting charges of which Elon has just been convicted, but in my primitive kishkes (guts) I already felt that it’s all gone to his head, or turned his head – I won’t even attempt to psychoanalyze the man.

Naturally, I was told back then that I’m full of it, because a tish is connected to Chassidism, and Chassidism is Yidishkeit, and Yidishkeit can’t be bad.

But I happen to believe that Yidishkeit is Freedom, and freedom is very, very good, and anything that opposes freedom is not Judaism and not Torah, and is very, very bad.

I don’t have the energy to start a debate over Chassidism, but I must say that our generation has turned our glorious tradition into a complete fruit salad, served with pitiful, new-age whining, doused in pseudo-spiritual dressing, replete with hollow poses of Kabbala-like mysticism, self-worship, and heaping portions of slavery to charismatic charlatans.

After all, the self-deprecating before the leader is the other side of the coin of narcissism and self-centeredness, and both sides mean bondage, heresy and lowly paganism.

Instead of Tikun Olam through the kingdom of spirit and morality, the new age post-modernist is cynically employing “spiritual” slogans to usurp the world for his own needs, his dubious jealousy, lust, and ambition.

Rabbi Motti Elon does not concern me. But I am losing sleep over the innocent youths who choose slavery and blindness over an open gaze and freedom.

But what bothers me even more is the fact that thousands of television viewers today think that this anti-Judaism is our—and their—heritage.

Please speak up and tell them it’s not so.

Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakai

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Why The Ear?

The great Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakai was once asked by a student, “Rebbe, I have a question which has puzzled me for some time. We find in the Torah a law concerning an eved Ivri, a Hebrew slave. He serves for six years and at the end of that time he may go free. Should he refuse, however, saying that he likes his master and prefers to remain with him, the tribunal takes him and makes a hole in his ear as a punishment.”

“This is true,” said Rabban Yochanan, “but what is there about it that you do not understand?”

“What troubles me is this,” answered the student. “Why is it the ear that is pierced? Was it not the tongue that declared that the slave did not wish to go free? Should not it – rather than the ear – be the organ that is pierced?”

“What you ask is very good and I shall tell you the answer. How does one become a slave? There are two ways: The first is being sold by the court because he stole and did not have money to pay back what he took. In this case it is the theft that caused him to be a slave.

“We tell this slave, this ear which heard the words at Har Sinai, Thou shalt not steal, and which disobeyed G-d’s commandment causing the man to become a slave, shall be pierced!

“On the other hand, there are people who sell themselves as slaves. Once again we tell such a person, this ear which heard the commandment of the Almighty, Unto Me are the Children of Israel slaves, and not slaves to other slaves, and which disobeyed G-d’s commandment shall be pierced.”

A Joint Holiday

Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakkai, as the leading rabbi of his time, would get into a great many discussions with pagans who attempted to contradict or attack the Torah. He would always answer them directly and to the point.

Once he was asked, “Both of us, Jews and Pagans alike, have holidays that are happy and call for thanksgiving. Nevertheless, our holidays never come out at the same time so that we might be happy and give thanks together on the same day for the same thing.”

Rabban Yochanan then said, “This is not really true. There is one day on which we both celebrate and rejoice together.”

“Tell me what that day is,” said the man, for I do not know to what you refer.”

“I refer to the times when rains have not fallen and the whole land was parched. All the people – Jew and pagan alike – looked to the sky for rain and on that great day when rain descended from heaven to water the parched earth, every man shouted for joy and proclaimed a holiday of thanksgiving to the Almighty. And this is what our Holy Scriptures say, the wheat fields are clothed with sheep, the valleys are wrapped with produce, they shall cheer and even sing forth, shout unto the L-rd All The Earth.”

Magic

Yet another time, Rabban Yochanan was approached by a pagan nobleman and asked, “Why do you claim that we have magic and sorcery when you yourself have this?”

When Rabban Yochanan heard this he asked, “Where in our holy Torah do you claim that we have laws that are magic and sorcery?”

“I will tell you,” answered the pagan. “In the Torah you have a certain commandment concerning a red cow. You burn its carcass and mix the ashes with water and then bring it before a man who has become defiled through contact with a corpse and you say to him, when the water is sprinkled on you it will make you pure.

“Now I ask you, is this not the magic and sorcery that you object to?”

“Let me explain this to you,” said Rabban Yochanan. “Have you ever seen a man who is mentally disturbed and it is said he has been invaded by an evil spirit?”

“Yes,” answered the man.

“Tell me, what do you do with this person in order to heal him from the evil spirit?”

“We burn incense and throw holy water upon him until the evil spirit leaves him,” replied the pagan.

The Earthquake (Conclusion)

Monday, June 18th, 2012

“Leave me Zemira,” cried Raamyah, “I have shamed you and your family. I have deceived my child whom I love so much. Turn your back on me for I can offer you only tragedy and unhappiness.”

“ Never!” cried the unhappy Zemira. “I will never forsake you and I forbid you to talk this way. Never say to yourself that hope is lost. Have not our Sages taught, ‘Though a sharp sword rest on the neck of a man, he shall not lose hope but look forward to the mercies of the Almighty’?”

Raamyah Gains Hope

Listening to his wife speak the prisoner took heart once again and for the first time since becoming a prisoner, his eyes lit up.

“If only I knew that Uzziel and his father whom I sold into slavery were still alive, I would flee this prison, and run to them to ask their forgiveness and free them from their slavery. I would then serve them forever.”

“If only some miracle would come about and allow you to be free of this prison, I would go with you and be a maid-servant with you.”

Just as she spoke these words, the door of the dungeon was opened and a guard walked in and said to Zemira, “you must go now for the time for your husband’s execution draws near.”

The Cry

As Zemira heard these words she let out such a terrible cry that the very earth shook. Such a cry had never been heard before as it came from the depths of the soul. The ground trembled beneath their feet and the walls of the building came crashing down. The city was suffering an earthquake.

The guards fled in panic fearing that the end of the world had come, and Zemira and Raamyah were left alone, free from the walls that had enclosed them.

“Look Zemira,” cried her husband, “the walls of the prison are down. Now is our opportunity to flee and find the two poor souls whom I had sold so unjustly.”

They Flee

Since they knew the area around Lebanon well, they decided to flee there. For three days and nights they traveled, fearful of pursuit. No one followed them however, because of the great fear that the earthquake had placed in their souls. For the quake had not only leveled the prison, but, it had caused havoc throughout the land of Israel.

Thus, Raamyah and Zemira were able to reach the hills of Lebanon in safety. There they encountered a former slave whom Raamyah had ransomed and given his freedom.

The man was overjoyed to see his benefactor and gave them food and water besides shelter and safety.

“Years ago you aided me when I was a poor slave. Now, ask of me what you will and I will be only too glad to aid you.”

“I thank you for your kind words,” replied Raamyah, “but there is only one thing I desire now. If only there was someway for me to discover the whereabouts of Uzziel and his father from Hebron whom I sold as slaves, I would ask nothing else.”

News Of The Slaves

When the former slave heard this, he replied, “there are two servants in this household who have recently come from the land of the Pilishtim. Perhaps they will know where these people whom you seek are located.”

“Please ask them,” pleaded Zemira.

When the two servants were brought in and asked if they know the whereabouts of the two people, one of them shook his head, but the other said, “I believe that the two people whom you seek are slaves in the city of Gahs.”

Zemira Sells Her Property

Hearing this Zemira wasted no time. She realized that if they found the two unfortunates, they would need money in order to ransom them. She sold her father’s property and prepared to go with her husband to the city of Gahs in the land of the Pilishtim.

For many days they traveled until they reached the city. They did not tell the slaves who they were but went directly to the owner and said, “we wish to buy the two slaves that you have here.”

The Earthquake (Part III)

Monday, June 11th, 2012

As Zemira threw herself (and her infant), into the path of the king’s carriage, the crowd shrieked. Hastily, the driver reined the horses up sharply, and the hoofs of the lead horse stopped barely inches from where she lay.

The king, seeing the drama unfolding before his very eyes, leaped from the carriage and, in a moment, was at Zemira’s side.

“What is wrong, my daughter? Why did you throw yourself and your child before my horses?’

Zemira raised her tear stained face and looked into the eyes of the king: “Your Majesty, your servants have taken my husband, the gentlest man who ever lived, and brought him to the dungeons. They have accused him of the most terrible of crimes and say that they will sever his head. You must help me to save him.”

When the king learned who her husband was, he looked at her sadly and said: “My dear young maiden, I wish that I could help you, but if your husband is the criminal you speak of there is nothing to do, for he is indeed guilty of all the crimes with which he has been charged.”

“To begin with, his name is not, as you think, Avinadav the son of Uzziel from Hebron, but rather Raamyah, the son of Yaktan. He left his father’s home and joined a band of robbers who plundered and stole….”

But Zemira would not allow the king to finish his words and she interrupted him saying, “Be that as it may, I beg you to allow me to see my husband in his dungeon and comfort him in his last days on this earth before his execution.”

“Your request is granted,” replied the king.

Zemira Sees Her Husband

The day after the festival of Sukkos, Zemira was brought to the dungeons, the last resting place of the condemned man before execution.

She was taken to her husband’s cell. When she saw his gaunt and sad face, she burst into tears.

“Do not weep, Zemira,” he cried. “Forget me for I have shamed you and tricked you and brought disgrace unto you and your father’s house forever.”

“I will not forget you ever, for you are the husband of my youth,” declared Zemira.

The Husband’s Story

When the husband saw that nothing that he could say would shake his wife, he turned to her and said: “Let me tell you the story of my sad life so that it may be a lesson to you so that you may raise our dear child to be a lover of Torah and the way of G-d.

“My father was an officer in the army and he was rarely home. Consequently, he turned me over to my mother to raise me and guide me in life.

“My mother loved me deeply and taught me to walk in the ways of the L-rd. Thus, the first 15 years of my life were spent in joy and tranquility.

“Alas, when I was 15 years old my beloved mother passed away and my father eventually married a second woman who was as evil as my mother was good. She hated me and made my life one of torture and suffering.

“Because of this I wandered about and found friends who also came from unhappy homes and I began to run with them. My stepmother told my father that I was becoming friendly with these boys and he forbade me to see them. I was very frightened of my father and I, of course, obeyed, but this was not enough for my stepmother. She continued to tell my father lies about me until one day she demanded that either she or I leave the house.

“My father was under her influence and so he drove me from my house. Where could I go if not to the friends that I had made?”

The Influence

“My friends were delighted. One day they said, ‘We have heard that there are bands of men who roam the countryside secretly and who fall upon wealthy merchants and take their money and property. Why shouldn’t we do the same?’

“At first I refused to even listen to them and when they saw this they left me and went to join the bandits themselves. I was left alone in the city until the pangs of hunger seized me and I decided that there was nothing left for me but to go join my friends in their fields.

Mordechai Kedar: The Suffering of Africa – Sins of Europe Projected on Israel

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Those Africans who enter Israel illegally in order to find work are a very small part of the general global problem of emigrants from Africa who are searching for a new land that will allow them to live, even with only a minimum income and standards of living – and the main thing that drives them is survival. Their poor condition, in Israel, in Europe, in North and South America and in Asia, raises the question: how did an entire continent, where a billion people live, about one fifth of the world population, arrive at such a low condition, and how, among the 61 states and entities that it comprises, not even one offers its citizens security, education, health and welfare at a reasonable level. How did it happen that a whole continent is torn by never-ending wars, mass murders costing millions of lives, and famines that still threaten the residents, most of whom want only to flee from it.

The one answer to all of these questions is: Europe, or more accurately, the greedy lust of the European peoples in previous centuries, which was reflected in colonization; and the way in which the Europeans related to the peoples of Africa when they ruled it, and the way that they left Africa and abandoned it to its suffering.

We must remember that in Africa there were never “peoples” in the European sense of the word; there were tribes. These family-based groups, over the course of generations, grew and split off to form new tribes, but their members always remained loyal to tribal culture. Traditionally, each tribe had its own religion, language, customs, laws, dress, standards of behavior, living area, sources of livelihood and economic interests around which every member of the tribe would unite. To defend themselves and their sources of livelihood, the members of the tribe formed a fighting group, without which it would be extremely difficult for the tribe to survive. For thousands of years the tribes of Africa lived this way undisturbed, in continual balance between man and nature, between tribes and neighbors, between man and his beliefs.

The European conquest and colonization that began in the late 15th century, brought continual disaster upon the tribes of Africa: the colonialists saw the black continent as a source of raw material for European industry – gold, silver, copper, iron, zinc, aluminum, diamonds, rubber and wood, and later, oil. But worst of all was that the African was seen as a slave, an amazingly cheap source of labor whose life had value only inasmuch as he could be exploited as a cheap source of labor. The most obvious example of this is the behavior of King Leopold II, king of Belgium (1835-1909), who ruled as Czar of the Congo from 1884 to 1908, and regarded the Congo, and all that it contained, as his private property. He used the residents of Congo as slave labor in his mines and rubber industry, and a third of the people met their death in this work. Slaves who could not fulfill the production quotas that were demanded from them were punished with amputation of a hand. Men were forced into slave labor, families were destroyed and whole tribes were wiped out by famine. Africans were considered lower than animals, and the wealth that the king stole from the lands of the Congo served his large construction building projects in Belgium. Many of the beautiful and stylish buildings in Belgium are the result of his conduct, which earned him harsh criticism from other countries.

During the period from the 16th to the 19th century, millions of Africans were captured by European, Arab and local slave traders and sold into slavery, mainly to South and North America. About one sixth of the slaves did not survive the journey by ship, mainly because of the miserable nutritional and sanitary conditions in these floating prisons. Slave-hunters cast the tribes of Western Africa into a never-ending chain of acts of reprisal because of their collaboration with slave traders.

At the Berlin Conference in the year 1884, the colonialist countries of Europe marked the borders of Africa as a “division of spoils,” and became wealthy from the raw materials and the slaves that were brought out from the lands of Africa. A not insignificant part of European wealth today is a direct result of this act – the greatest plunder in the history of mankind.

Kindliness: A Reflection Of Hashem

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

“And Pharaoh sent for Moshe and Aharon and said to them, ‘I have sinned this time. Hashem is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.” — Shemos 9:27

After months and months of rebellion, Pharaoh finally admitted he was wrong. The Dos Zakainim explains that the plague of barad moved Pharaoh more than any other. And it was because of one factor: Moshe had warned him that the hail would kill anything living. Again and again, Moshe cautioned Pharaoh to take his livestock and his slaves inside. Because Pharaoh was repeatedly warned to save the living creatures, he was moved and recognized his error.

This Dos Zakainim is difficult to understand. Why would this detail cause Pharaoh to admit that Hashem was right? He witnessed the greatest revelation of Hashem’s mastery of nature and it didn’t move him. He watched as Mitzrayim, the superpower of its time, was brought to its knees. That didn’t move him. Why should this single factor have such an effect?

This question is best answered with a mashal.

The Nature of the Human

Henry Ford, while a brilliant businessman, was not known for his kindliness. In fact, he used to brag that he never did anything for anyone. The story is told that while he was going for a walk in the fields with a friend, they heard yelps coming from a nearby property. A dog had gotten caught in a barbed wire fence and couldn’t get out. Ford walked over to the fence, gently pulled on the wire, and freed the dog. When he returned to the road, his friend said to him, “I thought you were the guy who never did anything for anyone.” Henry Ford responded, “That was for me. The dog’s cries were hurting me.”

This story is compelling because Ford didn’t care about anyone but himself. He didn’t choose to be kind. He didn’t want to feel the pain of others. In fact, he tried his best to squelch this sensitivity. But it was still there. He couldn’t stop himself. He was pre-programmed to have mercy. In his inner makeup, there was that voice that said, “Henry, the poor animal is in pain. Go do something!” Even though he prided himself on selfishness, he couldn’t quell that voice inside. It bothered him to hear a creature in pain. When he heard those cries, they reached down to his inner core, to that part of the human that only wants to do good, proper and noble things. That part was touched. It saw an animal in pain and said, “Don’t just stand there, Henry. Do something. That poor animal is suffering.”

This is illustrative of the basic components of the human. When Hashem created man, He joined together two diverse elements to form his soul. These are his spiritual soul, what we call his neshamah, and his animal soul, which is comprised of all of the drives and inclinations needed to keep him alive. The conscious “I” that thinks and feels is made up of both parts.

The neshamah comes from under the throne of Hashem’s glory. It is pure and holy and only wishes for that which is good, proper and noble. Because it comes from the upper worlds, it derives no benefit from this world and can’t relate to any of its pleasures. The other part of man’s soul is very different. It is exactly like that of an animal, with all of the passions and desires necessary to drive man though his daily existence.

We humans are this contradictory combination. Within me is an animal soul made up of desires and appetites, and within me is a holy neshamah that only wishes to do that which is right and proper. The animal soul only knows its needs and exists to fulfill them. The neshamah is magnanimous and only wishes to give. These two total opposites are forged together to create the whole we know as the human.

This seems to be the answer to the Dos Zakainim. Pharaoh was a human being, and as all humans, he had a sublime side to him. He may have spent years ignoring and pushing it down, but it remained within him. What he experienced during the plague of hail was pure chesed. His enemy was concerned for his good. There was nothing that Hashem had to gain by protecting the cattle and the slaves of the Egyptians. The only motivation was generosity, goodness, and a pure concern for others. Seeing this warmed even the callous heart of Pharaoh. He recognized this wasn’t driven by lowly motives. He understood he was dealing with something outside the realm of normal human interests.

Being Like Hashem

This also helps us understand one of the great ironies of life. The selfish person is focused on his needs and his wants. The generous person is concerned about the welfare of others – even at the cost of his own needs. We assume the selfish person would be happy. After all, he is singly focused on what’s good for him. But the generous person has the good of others on his mind – surely he can’t be as happy. He has to worry about the good of others.

Title: Exodus and Emancipation

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Title: Exodus and Emancipation

Author: Dr. Kenneth Chelst

Publisher: Urim Publications

 

 

   Each year, at the Pesach Seder, we enumerate the kindnesses that Hashem bestowed upon our ancestors. Has there ever been a population of slaves that was redeemed in so glorious a way – their oppressors punished, their physical exertion remunerated, their system of beliefs revealed Divinely, their nationhood established in the land they were promised centuries before? For all that we proclaim “Dayenu” at the Seder, we must wonder nevertheless whether it would have sufficed to have been granted less. Would we have been able to serve as a light unto the nations, leading the battle against slavery and oppression throughout the ages, had we not been prepared for the privileges and obligations that come with freedom?

 

   Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Chelst’s book, Exodus and Emancipation reviews the slave experience in Egypt, from the selling of Joseph into bondage to the triumphant entry of the Israelites into the Promised Land. He offers a deft analysis of relevant Biblical and Midrashic texts that he enhances by discussing an array of commentaries, ranging from the classical exegesis cited in Mikraot G’dolot to the writings of such modern scholars as Thomas Mann.

 

   The author then applies the lessons gleaned from the Biblical narrative to the history of the Atlantic slave trade, from its inception in the second half of the 15th century to the struggle for Civil Rights that continues to this very day.

 

   Chelst examines the institution of slavery, distinguishing between political and personal enslavement as well as between a society with slaves and a “slave society.” He demonstrates the role played by physical abuse and humiliation in the subjugation of a people – whether in Egypt or in Dixie.

 

   Chelst also addresses the importance of faith in uniting even a subjugated people and inspiring them to rise above the misery of day-to-day existence. He deals with the emotional and psychological needs of emancipated slaves – their need for retribution, for remuneration, for a single, shared ideal, and for strong leadership – and points out how these needs were met for the Bnei Yisrael when they were redeemed from Egypt by God’s strong hand and outstretched arm.

 

   Indeed, the lyrics of “Dayenu” catalogue these needs and remind us how very blessed we are to have had them met. It is this blessing that gives us the strength to go on as a people, that gives us the compassion to care for others who have suffered in a comparable way.

 

   Exodus and Emancipation is a scholarly book, replete with tables, illustrations, and primary source material. It is, nevertheless, written in a style that is accessible even to those who lack Dr. Chelst’s erudition. It is a book that will be a welcome addition to any private Judaic library, but it is not one that should remain on a shelf. Rather, this book belongs at the Shabbat table – especially when the weekly parasha deals with the issues that Chelst discusses – at the Pesach Seder, and anywhere that people gather to exchange ideas and opinions.

Title: Exodus and Emancipation

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Title: Exodus and Emancipation


Author: Dr. Kenneth Chelst


Publisher: Urim Publications


 


 


   Each year, at the Pesach Seder, we enumerate the kindnesses that Hashem bestowed upon our ancestors. Has there ever been a population of slaves that was redeemed in so glorious a way – their oppressors punished, their physical exertion remunerated, their system of beliefs revealed Divinely, their nationhood established in the land they were promised centuries before? For all that we proclaim “Dayenu” at the Seder, we must wonder nevertheless whether it would have sufficed to have been granted less. Would we have been able to serve as a light unto the nations, leading the battle against slavery and oppression throughout the ages, had we not been prepared for the privileges and obligations that come with freedom?

 

   Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Chelst’s book, Exodus and Emancipation reviews the slave experience in Egypt, from the selling of Joseph into bondage to the triumphant entry of the Israelites into the Promised Land. He offers a deft analysis of relevant Biblical and Midrashic texts that he enhances by discussing an array of commentaries, ranging from the classical exegesis cited in Mikraot G’dolot to the writings of such modern scholars as Thomas Mann.

 

   The author then applies the lessons gleaned from the Biblical narrative to the history of the Atlantic slave trade, from its inception in the second half of the 15th century to the struggle for Civil Rights that continues to this very day.

 

   Chelst examines the institution of slavery, distinguishing between political and personal enslavement as well as between a society with slaves and a “slave society.” He demonstrates the role played by physical abuse and humiliation in the subjugation of a people – whether in Egypt or in Dixie.

 

   Chelst also addresses the importance of faith in uniting even a subjugated people and inspiring them to rise above the misery of day-to-day existence. He deals with the emotional and psychological needs of emancipated slaves – their need for retribution, for remuneration, for a single, shared ideal, and for strong leadership – and points out how these needs were met for the Bnei Yisrael when they were redeemed from Egypt by God’s strong hand and outstretched arm.

 

   Indeed, the lyrics of “Dayenu” catalogue these needs and remind us how very blessed we are to have had them met. It is this blessing that gives us the strength to go on as a people, that gives us the compassion to care for others who have suffered in a comparable way.

 

   Exodus and Emancipation is a scholarly book, replete with tables, illustrations, and primary source material. It is, nevertheless, written in a style that is accessible even to those who lack Dr. Chelst’s erudition. It is a book that will be a welcome addition to any private Judaic library, but it is not one that should remain on a shelf. Rather, this book belongs at the Shabbat table – especially when the weekly parasha deals with the issues that Chelst discusses – at the Pesach Seder, and anywhere that people gather to exchange ideas and opinions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-exodus-and-emancipation-2/2010/03/10/

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