Passover and its Worldwide Message

These last few weeks have been times marked by revolution, uprisings, government repressions.  Conflicting reports of rebels and general political chaos is the order of the day.  Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Iran, Syria, Gaza and untold countries have been involved with the phenomena and NATO has its hands full.

With all this taking place I thought to myself about the first revolution recorded in history and it is found in the Old Testament.  The Book of Exodus speaks about a proud Jewish nation called Hebrews being enslaved by Egyptians.  They first came to Egypt during a famine under the leadership of their Jewish brother Joseph who became Viceroy to the King and made Egypt a super power.  The Hebrews were soon enslaved by the Egyptians of that generation.

The Bible records that the Almighty God appointed Moses, the first prophet, who was born in Egypt, to demand of King Pharaoh to free the Hebrews, warning him of the consequences if he did not.  It took a year of revolution and general chaos, traditionally known as the 10 plagues before the wicked tyrant relented and freed the Hebrews from slavery. 

This freedom is celebrated yearly by Jewish people world over and is called Passover.  On Passover night families gather together and a festive meal called a Seder is celebrated.  It is the time to retell the story of the Exodus, the history of the Hebrew’s birth as a nation and liberation.  The Passover story is recorded in a narrative form called the Haggadah.  The slavery in Egypt with its emotional and psychological confines is recited by the participants followed by the eating of unleavened bread called Matzah and the drinking of four cups of wine.  This Matzah is symbolic of the bread of affliction and the drinking of the wine is symbolic of liberation.  The night is a paradox, slavery and freedom recounted the same meal.

One paragraph in the Haggadah always catches my attention.  “If the Holy one, blessed be He, had not taken our fathers out of Egypt, then we, our children, and our children’s children would have remained enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt.”  I have always wondered about all the enslaved nations that have experienced liberation.  Why is it that the Haggadah says “if not for the liberation of Egypt we would still be slaves?”  Many nations have been enslaved and freed.  Even here in America with the Civil War liberating the enslaved blacks and in later times with the words of Martin Luther King during the Cultural Revolution in the 60’s.  King quoted the Bible saying “Let my people go” lending his credibility to demand liberation and equality just as Moses demanded those traits for the Hebrews of his time.

An answer that comes to mind is observing the first liberation and later liberations.  The first liberation was G‑d’s intervention and passive resistance by the Hebrews.  It was G‑d who changed nature through the 10 plagues with foresight of warning the pharaohs of the dire consequences.  The people themselves did not have to participate in the revolution but they were affected by it.  Their suffering was caused by the tyrant Pharaoh.  All revolutions since then have been man made.  The chaos, bloodshed and warring took place between groups of people until freedom was achieved or a dictatorship established.  This concept is diametrically opposed to the Hebrew Exodus.  The Exodus was G‑d made and inspired, others are man-made.  When G‑d creates the revolution it ends well.  Peace prevails, brotherhood is expanded and harmony exists.   This does not take place when man starts the revolution as seen in the Middle East and elsewhere. 

Yes it is true that if the Holy One blessed by He had not taken our forefathers out of Egypt we and our children, etc., would have remained enslaved to Pharaoh,  meaning to the tyrannical Pharaohs of our generation.

Therefore, this Monday night, April 18th gather with your family and friends and conduct a Seder.  Relive a true liberation inspired by G‑d, establishing peace, tranquility and brotherhood world over.

Here in America we pray for our servicemen overseas and all those involved in the revolution to establish freedom.  During these turbulent times we pray that people be understanding and accepting of others, leading towards a friendly co-existence with each other.

On Passover night an old prayer is read from the Hagaddah that says, “Next year in Jerusalem,” meaning a peaceful co-existence between the many warring factions.  Instead of fearing the Islamic brotherhood there should be a world brotherhood bringing the East and West to a peaceful coexistence with mutual respect for each other.