Monday, April 10, 2017
The joy of Pesach; the question of exile
On April 10, 2017, Jews around the world will sit with family and/or friends (both old and new). They will join together to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Pesach (Passover).
This holiday marks the grand moment when, more than 3,325 years ago, the Jewish people became a nation. This very night celebrates the one singular 24-hour period (between the 14th-15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan) that HaShem, our G-d, took our Jewish ancestors from slavery to freedom.
He Redeemed us from Egypt.
On April 10, 2017, after dark (the night of the 15th of the Jewish month, Nissan), we remember that Redemption. We remember the slavery. We recall the miracles that HaShem used to take us to our freedom.
On the night of the 15th of Nissan, we celebrate our 'seder', the ritualized meal where we tell our Pesach story of Redemption. Virtually every Jew knows this story.
This story remains powerful even today. Most surveys in Israel and America call Pesach the second most important Jewish holiday (by survey), after the Fast Day called, Yom Kippur. One might even be able to argue that, among secular, non-religious Jews, Pesach is the one 'don't miss' holiday of the year.
But as wonderful and joyous as this holiday is--and it is truly both wondrous and joyful--it nevertheless contains an ugly reminder: most Jews are still in exile.
Yes, virtually all of us have a 'seder'. We sit, sing and eat with pleasure. We rejoice.
But the truth is, most of the world's Jews still do not live in Israel. They're frozen in exile.
We know they're 'frozen' because they don't move. They refuse to move. They're too comfortable.
That comfort is an illusion. It's a fakery.
Have you seen the news? Take a look at some pre-Pesach headlines. They shout at you how 'comfortable' your exile life is:
-"Holocaust memorial vandalized in Arta [Greece]", antisemitism.org.il, April 9, 2017;
-"Young Australian Greens refuse to meet with Jewish students", jewsdownunder, April 9, 2017;
-Patrick Poole, "One week, five terror attacks: beginnings of another 'summer of terror'?", pjmedia, April 8, 2017;
-"Antisemitic voicemail left at Washington University (St Louis) library", cfca, April 8, 2017;
-Dave Urbanski, "Jerusalem mayor says US college adds to demonization of Israel by how it treated his speech", theblaze, April 7, 2017;
-Natalie Johnson, "Homegrown Islamic extremism on the rise in United States", washingtonfreebeacon, April 7, 2017;
-Adelle Nazarian, "Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh received standing ovation at Chicago hotel where families of her victims mourned", breitbart, April 5, 2017);
-Robert Spencer, "France: Muslim screaming 'allahu akbar' murders Jewish woman, cops cover up terror angle", jihadwatch, April 6, 2017;
-Eli Leon, "Jewish Center in Sweden closes [for good] over anti-Semitic threats", israelhayom, April 5, 2017;
-"Study: 25% of Jewish students in UK fear anti-Semitism on campus", israelhayom, April 4, 2017;
-Adam Kredo, "New York school [Oswego, New York] instructs kids to defend Hitler's genocide against Jews", washingtonfreebeacon, April 4, 2017;
-Giulio Meotti, "Londonistan: 423 new mosques; 500 closed churches", gatestoneinstitue, April 2, 2017;
-Daniel Greenfield, "Anti-Israel voices at AIPAC's [Washington, DC] Conference", frontpagemag, April 3, 2017;
-Udi Schayat, "For Sweden, it is too late: [two Swedish Democrat leaders pen letter begging America to avoid the mistakes Sweden made with free immigration], arutzsheva, April 3, 2017.
These headlines cover the last 9 days before Pesach, April 2, 2017-April 10, 2017; that's 14 headlines in 9 days that, potentially, do not suggest a happy future for Jews outside Israel.
These headlines are not isolated news reports that have just happened, coincidentally, in the week leading up to Pesach. They are an integral part of your year-round exile experience.
Are you listening? Are you watching? Do you understand how fragile is your exile?
At the Pesach seder, we are always encouraged to ask questions. If you are still in exile, ask this question at your Pesach seder: Why am I still in exile?