DANNY RICH

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - SE­NIOR RABBI, LIB­ERAL JU­DAISM

WHAT MIGHT Pesach — ze­man cherutaynu: the sea­son of our free­dom — mean when the Haggadah de­mands: “In ev­ery gen­er­a­tion ev­ery per­son must see them­selves as if they them­selves were per­son­ally freed from Egyp­tian bondage”?

There have been times and places in Jewish his­tory where Jews felt the fear of phys­i­cal op­pres­sion but to­day Jews en­joy greater free­dom than they have ever ex­pe­ri­enced.

Af­ter the Brexit vote last June I toured many of the 40 Lib­eral Ju­daism con­stituent com­mu­ni­ties in Den­mark, Ire­land, Scot­land and Eng­land and I found many of my con­gre­gants de­flated, shocked and even de­pressed about the fu­ture of the UK and Europe.

The free­ing of the He­brew slaves from bondage was only the be­gin­ning and the To­rah re­minds us that the Is­raelites re­mained an “am k’shay oref” — “a stiff-necked peo­ple” (Ex­o­dus 32:9 ) as they wan­dered the desert. The Chil­dren of Is­rael had escaped phys­i­cal bondage but not the trauma it had caused.

At our post-Brexit Sedarim this year may we seek to free our­selves from the bur­dens of cyn­i­cism and hope­less­ness such that — as the Ex­o­dus story re­minds us — in part­ner­ship with God, the Promised Land lies ahead not be­hind us.

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