The influence and lessons of Pesach are supposed to last and
even be further developed in the seven weeks leading up to
Shavuos. On Pesach we achieve the basic geulah at the
seder on the first night, and thereafter we work to
consolidate and follow through with that until it climaxes
in Matan Torah on Shavuos.
Pesach is the time when we were liberated from the servitude
of Mitzrayim. But it is not a historical anniversary that we
mark yearly, but a transforming event that affected our
parents and whose lingering power affects us every year, and
will continue to affect us in the future as long as we
celebrate yetzias Mitzrayim.
The meaning of our liberation from Mitzrayim is our passage
from the control of flesh and blood to the leadership of and
absolute subjugation to HaKodosh Boruch Hu. We are
changed from slaves of the flesh to slaves of the Eternal
One. Thereby we achieve true cheirus. We leave the
servitude of others' bodies and the servitude to our own
lower desires as well, which are the most confining and
which are the chains that are most important to cast off. It
is when we are committed through and through to the Will of
the Almighty that we are truly freed of the greatest burdens
that we can suffer.
If this is the experience of the great Jewish community that
is united throughout the world under the banner of the
Torah, we must remember -- and are in too many ways reminded
even if we would forget -- that we have many Jewish brothers
and sisters who simply cannot comprehend what we mean by
freedom. They are too caught up in the pursuit of pleasure
and the worship of fashion and fancy to think about anything
else. They are the slaves of their passions and desires who
are kept by the yetzer with their nose very close to
the grindstone, so that they do not have even a minute to
spare to consider if there is anything more to life.
In most parts of the world, there is little contact between
us and these other Jews, but in Israel we are too visible to
be ignored. Just in these weeks, against the backdrop of
Pesach but more significantly in the season in which the
founding of Israel is commemorated, do those who so
slavishly cultivate every imported fad stand up to renew the
hatred of chareidim and the Jewish truths that we carry.
It is all too reminiscent to us of the suffering of the long
Exile, in which each non-Jewish holiday was the occasion for
a seasonal kick at the Jews. These days in which the State
celebrates its founding are almost invariably accompanied by
media attacks on chareidi Jewry. It too will pass.
We will persist, fortified with our quiet celebrations in
our homes, with our family, that renews the true freedom and
independence of the Jewish people. Since the day more than
3,300 years ago that Hashem chose us we have been truly free
-- with or without a State, an army or even a patch of land
to call our own. Whoever has Pesach and has internalized its
essence, knows that there is nothing to add to the
independence that it brings.