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ISRAEL

 
 
 
 

PESACH - PASSOVER

 
 

RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO, MWU DEPUTY - DIRECTOR GENERAL & DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

The Festival of Pesach and the Search for Jewish Continuity & Leadership
By: Rabbi Carlos Tapiero, Carlos@maccabiworld.org
MWU Deputy - Director General & Director of Education

Kfar Maccabiah, Sunday, September 9, 2012

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Festival of Pesach and the Search for Jewish Continuity & Leadership

Dear Friends,

 

Pesach is one of the great celebrations of the Jewish People. In thousands and thousands of homes Jewish families will celebrate the Seder - that wonderful recreation of our liberation from slavery in Egypt. We will drink, sing, be awed by the miraculous plagues, and thank our Creator for His redemption and the strength of His pact with our people.

 

The great absentee of the Pesach Haggadah - surprisingly - is Moshe Rabeinu, Moses, whose name appears just once in the text. The implied message of this otherwise puzzling absence? Our liberator, the one who freed the Hebrews slaves from the Egyptian oppression was the Almighty Himself, not Moses, who -- although the greatest prophet of all times -- was merely the instrument of the Divine.

 

But was Moses only the instrument of the Divine? Why then should he and not another have been the one chosen to lead our nation? What was it that made him incomparably different? Moses' distinctive characteristic lies in the fact of how and where he was bred, growing up in the freedom of Pharaoh's palace, incorporating concepts in his life unknown to his oppressed Hebrew contemporaries. Only one habitually free from birth could lead the fight for Liberty Thus, while Moses - "a Prince of Egypt" -- was a "stranger top the ways of our People", he was dedicated to their service throughout his adult life.

 

In our times, perhaps only the life of the Father of Modern Zionism Theodor Herzl runs parallel to that of Moses in Exodus. He too grew up outside involvement with Jewish life and tradition, yet in adult life became the leader whose inspiration and effort was the Genesis of the Third Independent Jewish Commonwealth - the State of Israel.

 

Theses two exemplary Jews, and their two histories, and twin hopes in relation to our future, powerfully demonstrate another fundamental truth of great relevance to modern Jewish life: Growing up outside the Community of our People does not necessarily imply the disappearance of his or her Judaism. With work, study, and inspiration, the life-potential of that man or woman born Jewish can be transformed even into the destiny of human beings who can change the history of our people, transformed even into the greatest of visionaries and leaders.

 

Thus we may conclude, and indeed must, that even today, when assimilation and loss of authentic identity ravage Jewish Communities everywhere, we must redouble our efforts to recover each Child of Israel seemingly lost to our Nation. Who knows? Perhaps there is another Herzl, or even a true Moses out there?

 

May God grant that this Pesach fill our hearts with joy, and may we free ourselves from the yoke of alienation from our roots and our People from the affliction of assimilation, and labor to gather in all the Exiles to the Community of our People, so that, even though - like the fourth son in the Haggadah -- they do not even know how or what to ask.

May God bless this gathering of our cherished ones around the

Passover Table in loving embrace and meaningful dialogue.

 

And May this Seder and all our future Seders

be celebrated in times of
liberation and redemption of our People
and of all men and women of good deeds!

 

Chag Pesach Sameach!

Chazak ve'ematz!

Rabbi Carlos A. Tapiero

Deputy Director-General & Director of Education

Maccabi World Union
 
 
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