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March 29, 1991 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-03-29

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

!TORAH PORTION I

The First Festival
Of Freedom's Joy

When we go away on vacation,
morn prefers to stay at Georgian
Bloomfield. She receives the
medical attention she needs,
visits other residents, and
feels secure and
comfortable.

RABBI RICHARD C. HERTZ

Special to The Jewish News

I

If someone you love
needs short-term
nursing care, visit
Georgian Bloomfield
and find out how
both of you can
enjoy better
vacations.

Georgian Bloomfield

2975 N. Adams Rd.
Birmingham, MI 48009

645-2900

Health Care & RetirLnent Corpor a tion

B.H.

YASHER KOACH

Many thanks to Dr. Morton Plotnick, Bruce
Langarten, Faith Tam and the Jewish Corn-
munity Center. You helped enable three thou-
sand Detroit area Jewish children to enjoy a
Passover Matzo baking experience that they'll
never forget!

CHABAD J.C.C. MATZO BAKERY

Rabbi Elimelech Silberberg Rabbi Chaim M. Bergstein
Bais Chabad of W. Bloomfield Bais Chabad of Farmington Hills

Best Wishes
for a
Happy & Healthy
Passover

Brent

FURNITURE

1914 Telegraph • Bloomfield Hills
338-7716

n the long history of anci-
ent or modern civiliza-
tions, it is incredible and
without precedent that a peo-
ple would seek to preserve its
history of degradation and
bondage. No people ever in-
vents a dishonorable past.
The Scriptures of the
Jewish people delight in re-
minding us again and again
that our Hebrew forefathers
suffered national humiliation
by being slaves in Egypt. In-
stead of permitting na-
tionalistic writers to erase the
memory of bondage, the Pass-
over story becomes more in-
delible than ever.
The Torah portion read on
this Sabbath, the first day of
Passover, comes from Exodus
12. It tells of the hasty flight
of the Israelites from Egypt
and the necessity for baking
unleavened bread.
After recording the ten
plagues of Egypt in their last
moments before fleeing from
the Egyptians, Scripture says,
"It was a night of watching
unto the Lord for bringing
them out from the land of
Egypt; this same night is a
night of watching unto the
Lord for all the children of
Israel throughout their
generations." (Exodus 12.42)
What a watch night it has
become! We're bidden to
remember the Passover story,
not for the sake of a few peo-
ple pouring over some dry
history tome, nor for a hand-
ful of academic scholars in-
terested in the "fossils of
Judaism" (as Toynbee once
called us). Scripture points
out that the whole Jewish
people must remember the
Passover story and stand
guard all through the genera-
tions lest new dangers, new
assaults on the freedom of the
Jew, be hurled at us.
For us in Detroit, this is a
joyous Passover. Families
have been reunited by
Passover seders. The age-old
story of escape from tyranny
is being read from the Hag-
gadah. Songs of freedom are
being sung again by Jewish
families from Russia, our new
immigrants, who have found
freedom in the Promised
Land, both in America and in
Israel.

CLASSIFIED
GET RESULTS°
Call The Jewish News

The story of Passover goes
back a long, long time. It is
the story that the Jewish peo-

354-5959

Rabbi Hertz is rabbi emeritus
of Temple Beth El.

ple has never tired of
retelling.
But the Passover story in
the book of Exodus is more
than just a story. It is not dif-
ficult to understand why the
Jewish people are so pas-
sionately devoted to the
Passover observance, for the
festival recalls a story of liber-
ty and freedom.
Passover might perhaps be
called the first Fourth of Ju-
ly celebration in human
history. But unlike the
secular Independence Day,
this Jewish festival of
freedom was given a deeply
religious significance in keep-
ing with the Jewish idea of
freedom.
The Exodus was a bold pro-
clamation of freedom, a
throwing off of the shackles of
the tyrannical Pharaoh.

First day of
Passover and
counting the Omer.

Passover celebrates man-
kind's first festival of
freedom.
The Passover message for
our time cries out, "Let
Freedom ring! Down with
tyranny and enslavement and
exploitation!" From Pharoah
to Hitler to Stalin to
Eichmann to Saddam Hus-
sein, the story of Passover
spins its message that
freedom is indestructible.
When our Jewish fore-
fathers went forth from the
fleshpots of Egypt to starve
and suffer the rigors of the
desert and wander towards a
Promised Land for 40 years,
they learned the costly lesson
that liberty is everything.
The ancient Israelites had
no illusions about their
choice. They turned their
backs on the Egyptian
civilization, the palaces and
temples they had built, the
fertility of the Nile they had
enjoyed and they went into
the desert with all its barren-
ness and dangers. It took
courage to make that choice,
but they knew that freedom
was worth it.
Ever since that memorable
night in ancient Goshen,
when the Hebrew forefathers
turned their backs on slavery
and faced up to the respon-
sibilities of freedom, Passover
has been to the Jewish people
a feast of dedication to the
ideals of liberty and a
testimony to their joyful ac-
ceptance of the divine com-
mand to carry that message
of human freedom. ❑

K

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