Friday, April 12, 1985
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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It Again With A
BY RABBI M. ROBERT SYME
Special to The Jewish News
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division- of Equinox Development, Inc.
Every year, as I sit at the Seder
table, the same thoughts invari-
ably cross my mind. I think of
those who are here, and those who
are not here. I think of those who
are enslaved in the Soviet Union,
and those of us who are privileged
to live in America. I think of the
people of Ethiopia, whose daily
food is the bread of affliction, and
who pray for an early exodus from
the tyranny of hunger.
The same thoughts, the same
melodies, the same memories, and
the same questions — all are part
of the Seder service. But this year
As I sat at the Seder table read-
ing from the Haggadah, a new
question clamored for attention.
It had never occurred to me be-
fore. But on this night, as I lis-
tened to the four questions, an-
other question suddenly ap-
peared. It was a question that no-
body asked, but it needed to be
answered: Why are Jews different
from all other people?
Before you brush it aside, let me
remind you that Pharoah consid-
ered us different. He charged us
with "breeding too many children,
and thereby outnumbering the
Haman considered us as differ-
ent. He accused us of being law-
less, of "not abiding by the laws of
And what was our response?
What has been our traditional re-
sponse to these accusations? We
have said: "We are not different!
We are just like everybody else."
And we even quoted Shakes-
peare's words from the Merchant
of Venice: "Hath not a Jew eyes?
Hath not a Jew hands? . . . If you
prick us, do we not bleed? If you
tickle us, do we not laugh?"
In spite of all our protestations
to the contrary, the fact remains
that we are different! And why?
Because of our heritage.
Consider the Haggadah. .How
does it begin? Kol dichfin —. "Let
all who are hungry come and eat."
Throughout our history, our
people has been trained to be
compassionate, "merciful chil-
dren of merciful parents."
The Haggadah continues: We
were slaves to Pharoah in Egypt.
Why remind ourselves of that
painful period in our people's his-
tory? The answer is so that no Jew
should ever commit the sin of
enslaving or debasing another
And finally, there is that popu-
lar song in the Haggadah,
Dahyaynu, which means: "It
would have been enough for us."
Some people go through life,
never content, never satisfied,
always wanting more, always
demanding more. But then there
are some people, who are
genuinely grateful for the
blessings that God has bestowed
These three qualities: generos-
ity, concern for the under-
privileged and the overburdened,
and gratitude to God, have been
our guides through the long years
of exile. These are the qualities
that made us different.
And so, in answer to the ques-
tion that nobody asked, the an-
swer is: Yes, we are different, as
long as our heritage remains part
of our lives.
The United Condominium
Owners of Michigan will sponsor
a condominium seminar at 8:30
a.m. April 27 at the Northfield
Hilton Hotel. There is a fee. For
information, call 352-8490.