Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Nissan 5761 - April 18, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
Eternal Independence

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.

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