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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Real Message of Passover, Not Obama's Version

The Obama Democrats certainly consider his custom of holding sic Jewish Passover Seders good politics, which they probably are in the American Jewish reality.  But in terms of the true meaning of the Pesach Passover holiday, they've gotten it all wrong. And United States President Obama also got the Passover message wrong when he was telling us (and the world) during his recent visit to Israel that he sees a connection with the Arabs aka Palestinian demands for a state inside the Biblical Land of Israel and the Passover holiday.

THE JEWISH PEOPLE NEVER ASKED FOR A JEWISH STATE IN EGYPT!  So using the Passover narrative to support the Arab demands should only make some sense if the Arabs were to leave Israel and find some other land to demand.

The story of the Jewish People in Egypt was very different.  It's more like the story of Naomi and Ruth, which is read on Shavuot, the Holiday most connected to Passover.  We are required to Count the Omer, the forty-nine days, seven weeks from the second night of Passover to right before Shavuot.

In both stories, the Jewish People or main characters started off in the Land of Israel.  We must begin the Passover story as a prequel, to show how we ended up in Egypt.  By ignoring what precedes Jewish slavery to Pharaoh we can't fully understand what the holiday is really about.  Over a hundred years earlier, there wasn't a large Jewish People, there was just a family.  Jacob was the father, and he had twelve sons from four women.  One of his sons, the favorite-being the elder of his favorite wife, had disappeared under suspicious circumstances.  His other sons claimed that the boy had been killed by an animal, but he didn't believe them.  No body and no closure. 

Jacob was a very wealthy man, so a number of years later when the area was cursed by famine he sent his sons to buy food in Egypt. And to make  a long story short, it ended up that the missing son was the very high official in charge so selling food during the famine.  Pharaoh probably didn't want the son to possibly leave Egypt and join his family, so he invited the entire clan to live in a very fertile location in Egypt.

The Jewish time in Egypt had started as a privileged one, but at some point everything went downhill and they became slaves.  Conditions became unbearable for Jews and they cried out to G-d to make life easier.  G-d appointed Moses and told him that he would take the Jewish People back to the HolyLand.  And that's where the Passover story comes in.

In Megillat Rut, The Scroll of Ruth, we have a similar scenario.  The story starts with Naomi, whose husband Elimelech decides that  his family must flee the famine and go to nearby Moav.  Just like with the Jewish People in Egypt, it turned out disastrously.  He and their sons die leaving Naomi poverty-stricken and alone with the two childless daughters-in-law.  Naomi then decides to return to the HolyLand alone, but one daughter-in-law, Ruth, insists on joining her and her fate as a Jew.  At first Naomi is shunned, but  Ruth ends up the great-grandmother of the greatest Jewish King, King David.

To simplify both stories:
  • Jews leave HolyLand for economic reasons.
  • Jews have great hopes that their new lives will be better, and maybe they are for a while.
  • Jews end up poverty-stricken, suffering.
  • Jews end up realizing they must return Home to the HolyLand!
That's it in a nutshell.

American Jews, it's time to come HOME!

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