Torah Tidbits

Shabbat Parashat Tazria

Rosh Chodesh Nisan

Shabbat HaChodesh 

April 9, 2016 – 1 Nisan 5776   

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I guess one would have to be of a certain age to remember gathering at rallies in front of the United Nations building, chanting: “Free-dom Now! Free-dom Now!” in an effort to convince the powers that be to allow Jewish emigration from the former Soviet Union.  Where would so many of the Jewish people want to go?   Some would eventually make their way to Israel.  Others,  to the United States, or to another country in which they could live in freedom, as Jews.  I remember those rallies.  I remember chanting: “Freedom Now!” over and over…

As we celebrate the beginning of the Jewish month of Nisan, we begin to think about the message of Passover.  It is primarily a message of the tremendous value of freedom.  But, the struggle to live in freedom is not confined to ancient times.  It is relevant to our lives today.

When I was chanting the phrase: “Freedom Now!” all those years ago, in front of the United Nations building in New York, I did not associate the struggle for freedom with my own life.  I thought of it as a struggle that others faced.  I was merely helping them in their struggle for freedom.

Today, I realize that as long as there are people who are not free within my own society, it is my struggle, and not only their struggle.

Today, I realize that we still live in a world in which the narrative of people being treated as chattel is not yet a thing of the past.

As we look forward to our upcoming Seders, may we remember that the Torah’s ancient story of the Exodus, is a beginning.  We are part of the story.  We can help write the next chapters, in which more and more people around us may share in the amazing blessings of freedom!

May this month, leading up to Passover, and taking us into the future, be a month of increased vision, understanding and freedom.  And, may we use our freedom to promote greater blessing in our world.

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Gilah Dror