04 April 2010
This week, Am Yisrael has been celebrating the Festival of Pesach, a time when we purge our homes of chametz (foods made of forbidden grains and leavening), and gather with friends and family to recount the story of our liberation from slavery, our redemption from the first exile from our land, and our formation as a nation, a people separate and distinct from all others.
We sit around the Seder table and recount the miracles that were done for us so that we could be engaged in national service for the Creator. We are compelled to relate the story of the exodus to our children, and to recall it as we ourselves were liberated from slavery; that all the customs, ceremonies, commandments are a part of our lives because of what HaKadosh Borachu did for us in Egypt.
As was pointed out to me by my rabbi, there is no biblical Hebrew word for history. Modern Hebrew has created the word “historiah,” but this is not a true Hebrew word. There is in fact no word for “history” in our language. What we have instead is memory: zachar.
Ours is a life-way that is passed down orally. For generations, the Mishnah, the oral law expounding on the commandments written down in the Torah, was passed down in deep study from one generation of scholars to the next, until it was codified into what is now, with the commentaries (Gemmorah), called the Talmud.
It is the same with the story of the exodus. It is told again and again, from one generation to the next in an unbroken chain of memory that spans more than 3 millennium. It is this long stretch of memory that keeps the Jewish people alive. Countless forces have attempted to sever the chain. Though many of have been lost, assimilated, or massacred, the chain continues.
Why then is it so hard for a people with such a tremendous store of knowledge and experience, to see that which is so obvious? Take the current state of affairs between Marack Pampers Pajama and Israel. This is a man who was raised in a leftist upbringing where Israel was vilified. His intellectual peers are known haters of Israel and the Jewish people: Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said, William Ayers… Forget the nut bag Jeremiah Wright, and the undisputed African American heavyweight of Jew Hate, Louis Farrakhan. Why do I say forget? Because while some twenty years ago, Jesse Jackson’s association to Louis Farrakhan, and his comments about New York being “hymie town” were more than ample to crush any possible hope of even liberal Jews from backing him, this was not the case with Marack.
For some reason Jews ignored Pampers’ associations, refusing to see them as indicative as to what kind of position he would take on Israel. Of course there are a great number of misguided Jews that think the Arabs are this oppressed people being held hostage by the Jewish state when in fact the exact opposite is true. Their own leaders oppress them. It is the Jewish homeland that is occupied and held hostage by them, and by Israel’s own impotent leaders whose Stockholm syndrome has led them to identify with their captors. American Jews who turn their backs on Torah and Jewish observance, who fail to relate the story of their exodus from Egypt have no real connection to Eretz Yisrael, and have nothing to really convey. What do they care about truth? What do they care about the land? These are people that believed Marack when he told them that his name in Hebrew means blessing. This is actually a ginormous lie. Baruch is blessed, bracha is blessing. Barak means lightning. But these Jews who have been so deeply separated from who they are just smiled warmly and nodded at the golden god of change and accepted that his name means “blessing.”
On Shabbat Chol Hamoed, the Sabbath that falls during Pesach, we read about Ezekiel’s prophesying over the dry bones. As a boy, this was conveyed to me as a vision of the future redemption of the Jewish people, as well as a promise of the future resurrection of the dead in the days of Moshiach. But Rashi relates to us the story that the resurrection of the dry bones did in fact take place in a valley where 200,000 members of the tribe of Ephraim were killed by Philistines (from whom the “Palestinians” are not descended. Nor are they descended from the Jebusites, Hittites, stalactites, stalagmites, or any of the other “ites” they have claimed to be in their chronic and pathetic attempts to be indigenous to the Land of Israel.), who were led out of Egypt by a false messiah. This is considered to be the climax of the redemption from Egypt.
I learned at the Shabbat table this week that it needs to be understood the text states that though the bones came back together, had sinew and muscle, and stood up out of the dust, there was no spirit within them. Ezekiel was commanded to prophecy a second time so that Hashem would breathe life into them. From this we learn that the redemption of our people is not simply physical, it must be one of the spirit as well. It is up to us to breathe that spirit into our children at the seder table, and at least try to get those of us who worship the White House resident to recognize the new pharaoh, and come back to their roots.
While I was taking a Shabbat nap yesterday some of the children were having Anne Frank’s diary read to them. This young Jewish girl was murdered by the Nazis more than 60 years ago, but the words she wrote have been translated into virtually every language, and is one of the world’s most read books. If the words of one murdered Jew can live on in such a way then what hope is there for those who plot against us?
We will have our freedom of spirit, body, and land. We shall live again.
Posted by Shtuey at Sunday, April 04, 2010