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.