THE JEWISH NEWS
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Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951
Member American Association of English—Jewish Newspapers, Michigan Press
Association, National Editorial Association.
Published every Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17100 West Seven
Mile Road, Detroit, Michigan 48235, VE 8-9364. Subscription $7 a year. Foreign $8.
Second Class Postage Paid at Detroit, Michigan
Editor and Publisher
CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ
Sabbath Hagadol Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the tenth day of Nisan, 5729, the following scriptural
selections will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Levit. 6:1.8:36. Prophetical portion, Malachi 3:4-24.
Sabbath Scriptural Selections
The following scriptural selections will be read on the first two days
Pen tateuchal portions, Thursday, Exod. 12:21-51, Num.. 28:16-25; Fri-
day, Levit. 22:26-23:44, Num. 16:25.
Prophetical portions, Thursday, Joshua 5:2-6:1, 27; Friday, II Kings
23:1 -9; 21.25.
Candle lighting, Friday, March 28, 634 p.m.
VOL. LV . No. 2
March 28, 1969
Pesah Hagada's Libertarian Link
An imperative need for intelligence, for understanding of
the people's link with the past and appreciation of the present is
imbedded in the Four Questions that will be asked by the young-
est in the family of the elders at the Passover seder.
There is an explanatory note in Mishna Pesahim which in-
troduces the Ma Nishtana symbolism: "On Passover eve the son
asks his father, and if the son is unintelligent, his father instructs
him to ask: Why is this night different from all other nights?"
Out of this tradition emerge the whys and wherefores and the
howl that are reviewed in the Hagada—an Hagada that remains
valid as a lesson for all generations, with questions and answers
that have a bearing on the future as they have had on a long past.
Because the freedom that was attained on Passover is always
in some danger unless its effectiveness is studied and reviewed
and reaffirmed by every generation. Because freedom can be
crushed if it is not cherished as a tradition, as a memory and as
an admonition for a future that must emerge as dedicated to the
liberties of human beings as it was welcomed when first tasted
Passover, so deeply imbedded in history, not only for the
people who first experienced its lesson but for all mankind for
whom it became a heritage, spells out great moral truths, lofty
ethical motivations in the search for liberty, universality in the
principles which consider justice the inalienable possessions of
all peoples, not alone of Jews who observe this Festival of Free-
It is so vital that the basic ideals inherent in Passover should
be reviewed, especially in our time! There are so many abuses of
liberty! There is so much selfishness—and so many often want it
for themselves alone! Nothing could possibly be more foreign to
the root of the libertarian idea as enunciated in Jewish tradition
than an attempt to claim freedom selfishly—for only one people,
only for those individuals who fail to recognize the rights of their
In an age when racial strife has become a problem for so
many people, it becomes necessary to reaffirm this principled
approach in Jewish teachings. Passover spells freedom—for all!
For Jews, Passover has a specific lesson: to remember the
universality of the message imbedded in genuine liberty. Yet
there is another element in the not-to-be-forgotten past: to take
into account the dangers that stem from indifference, to remem-
ber those who, unlike ourselves, are still oppressed; to keep in view
the sacred lesson that, once forgotten, if ever abandoned, freedom
will be lost and it may be necessary to recreate the Passover
theme anew unless we protect the rights in man's possession.
If ever a single person abandons hope and yields to tyranny,
he may endanger an entire generation. Because freedom is col-
lective, for the entire generation as a remembrance of old and as
an ideal to be given as a legacy to future generations.
Are these mere words? Is freedom only a term for unused
Never before has mankind been challenged as seriously as
now not to forget the rights that demand equality, the justice of
a quest for life and man's survival. Therefore memory links a
great principle with truth: that if we protect freedom now we
shall have the satisfaction of knowing that it will be assured also
for those who come after us!
One of the distinguished Labor Zionist leaders, Berl Katznel-
son, writing on Passover and Revolutionary Constructionism,
made these impressive comments on the Exodus and the ideal of
"Passover! * A nation has been commemorating for thousands of
years the day of its exodus from the house of bondage. Throughout
all the atrocities of enslavement and despotism, of inquisition, forced
conversion and massacre, the Jewish nation carries in its heart the
yearning for freedom and •gives this craving a folk expression which
shall not pass over a single soul in Israel, a single downtrodden,
pauperized soul! . . . 'In every generation every man must regard him-
self as if he personally were redeemed from Egypt.' This is the peak
of historic consciousness, and history has no example of a greater fusion
of individual with group than this ancient pedagogic command. I am
not acquainted with a literary creation which can evoke a greater
contempt for slavery and love of freedom than the narrative of the
bondage and Exodus from Egypt. And I do not know of any other
ancient memory so entirely a symbol of our present and future, as
the 'memory of the Exodus from Egypt.' "
There is this basic lesson in the Hagada which makes the
liturgy we shall be chanting within a few nights a universal
document. May it remain so, in order that humanity may be
linked isi.liberty,.troth, justice--and peace!
ocimea-,..somemaaggiwa*:6 7 ,
Reiterating Entreaty for Communal Dedication
Many sermons will be preached during the Passover Festival—for seven days in
Israel and eight days in the Orthodox and Conservative congregations. The hametz
will be burned after the ceremony of gathering the remainder of leavened bread
crumbs on Tuesday night. The Ma Nishtana will be recited by the children, and the
Avadim Hayinu reply will be given by the elders. Homes will be cleansed, and a
holiday spirit will be marked by family and communal observances of the sedorim.
Will it be another festival of enjoyment of traditional foods and an occassion
merely for the four cups of wine, as some of our youth charge in their criticism of
failure by the elders fully to comply with ideals inherent in the Pesah we will observe
again starting on Wednesday night?
Without yielding to despair that we have really failed in our dedication to our
historic obligations—if we were so guilty we would not be here today to reconstruct
the lesson of the festival—refusing to concede bankruptcy or defeat, we nevertheless
aim to re-introduce the entreaty to our fellow men for renewed involvements in the
communal duties that beckon to us, especially on an occasion when we think of free-
dom for ourselves and our fellow men, for justice to humankind, for man's right to
a free and secure life.
None of us is free as long as a single coreligionist is enslaved—and too many of
our fellow Jews are in serfdom—behind the Iron Curtain, in Moslem-ruled countries,
in backward countries which are vet to be invaded by the spirit of democratic idealism.
Therefore Passover admonishes us not to be complacent, to think of the duties
that are ours, to translate the freedoms we enjoy into a dedication to aims to provide
equal liberties for our less fortunate kinsmen.
For those who adhere to the tradition of burning the hametz there is an appropri-
ate story in our folklore. There is a tale about Rabbi Eisel of Slonim in whose com-
munity lived a rich but very miserly man who had never given a penny to charity,
whose home never had a poor man as guest.
One Erev Pesah, when the time had arrived for the burning of the hametz,
Rabbi Eisel saw this miser in front of a fire into which he was preparing to throw the
hametz and was emptying his pockets searching for crumbs. "It's unnecessary, the
hametz in your pockets do not need clearing out," Rabbi Eisel told him. "Why?", asked
the miser. The rabbi, smilingly, replied: "It's quite simple. The law is that only hametz
which is the possession of a Jew needs to be burned— and behold, you are only a Jew
up to your pocket."
This may be a harsh story to relate in relation to a campaign we are about to
inaugurate. But in some instances—thankfully, it is applicable only to a minority! it
needs to be repeated. It applies to those who face the obligations to the Allied Jewish
Campaign, and it has relevance to many who are deaf to other appeals and hard-
hearted in facing many other duties. And if there is to be genuine appreciation for the
rights we enjoy as free American citizens we must—all of us, collectively!—live up
to human obligations that confront us.
Right now it is the Allied Jewish Campaign. Tomorrow it may be the cause of Jew-
ish education, the role we must play in protecting the rights of our fellow men, the
need to provide succor for the less fortunate.
Lest we abdicate our freedoms we must remember our responsibilities. Only in
such humane terms will we be fully observing the Passover. By fulfilling our obliga-
tions we earn the right to say in all earnestness: A Happy Passover!