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April 06, 1990 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Va/4 /71/ Vt;de& t%/4- Alb

AT PASSOVER

When We Will 'Duly
Be Able To Say Dayenu

RABBI IRWIN GRONER

Special to The Jewish News

T

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52

FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 1990

he Sabbath preceding
Passover is known as
Shabbat Hagadol —
the great Sabbath. We
prepare ourselves for the
festival. We anticipate in
thought and deed the coming
of the feast of freedom. This
holiday speaks to us of two at-
tributes indispensable to
freedom, virtues redemption
requires.
The first quality freedom
demands is imagination. "In
every generation, a man
ought to look at himself as
though he were redeemed
from Egypt." What a superbly
creative faculty is here por-
trayed. We identify with our
ancestors. We eat the bread of
affliction; the taste of bit-
terness is in our mouth; the
mortar of Egypt's slave camp
is placed on our table. We feel
the suffering of the past. The
spark of imagination has
been kindled and it illumines
our hearts, for we are joined
not only with our ancestors,
but associated with all who
experienced the lash of the
taskmaster. Wherever people
are enslaved, our freedom has
been diminished.
This year, our thoughts are
directed to Soviet Jews who
are leaving their house of
bondage to enter the land of
Israel in an emigration of
epic, historic dimensions.
After years of harassment
and persecution, the gates of
liberation have been opened
to our brethren. We feel their
pain; we experience their joy;
we walk with them in their
Exodus. We accompany them
on their journey to freedom.
The second quality freedom
requires is sacrifice. Every
family brought .an offering at
this festival. On the seder
plate, the roasted bone is a
reminder of that paschal
lamb. Freedom never descend-
ed as manna from heaven.
Wherever people have liberty,
they have struggled and
labored for it. Therefore, if
you love freedom, be prepared
to bring a sacrifice upon its
altar.
A philosopher once drew a
distinction between an illu-
sion and an ideal. An ideal is
a mental picture of what
ought to be; an illusion is the
notion that what ought to be

Irwin Groner is senior rabbi
of Congregation Shaarey
Zedek.

can be realized without effort
or pain. For us, freedom is no
illusion, for it has a price.
Sometimes the price is
specific. It costs money to take
a Jew who has been plucked
out of danger and bring him
to the land of Israel for settle-
ment. Every United Jewish
Appeal dollar is an offering
on the altar of Jewish
redemption. Each person is to
bring his own sacrifice, and
none may shirk the obliga-
tion of the offering.

Estimates for the coming
year range between 75,000 to
100,000 Soviet o/im, im-
migrants to Israel.
As more and more Soviet
Jews move to Israel, they pose
challenges to the state. Who

Tzav,
Shabbat Hagadol:
Leviticus 6:1-8:36,
Malachi 3:4-24.

will clothe these immigrants?
Who will feed and shelter
them? Who will provide hous-
ing and employment?
All this requires money.
Israel cannot do it alone. Its
government has undertaken
to raise 3 billion dollars to
support Soviet aliyah.
American Jewry is asked to
provide during the next three
years $420 million dollars
more than it would usually
give. This extra support will
enable us to fulfill one of the
greatest of all the Jewish
commandments — the mitz-
vah of pidyon shevuyim,
redeeming. captives, which
takes precedence over every
other act of benevolence,
charity or kindness.
Recently I attended a
meeting at which the resettle-
ment of Soviet Jews was be-
ing discussed. In the course of
the meeting, the word "pro-
blem" was on the lips of every
speaker. I urged that we drop
that word. When Jews were
trapped behind the Iron Cur-
tain, when they were denied
the opportunity to leave, that
was a problem. Operation Ex-
odus is an opportunity, a
blessing. This is the time we
have yearned for, the last
great migration of the Jewish
people in this century. Soviet
Jews are a precious part of the
body and soul of the Jewish
people that was cut off from
the main body of Jewish life.
By all the laws of history, we
should be saying Kaddish for
Soviet Jewry. Instead, we are

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