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Pesach near the corner...

(Open letter by Israeli professor Chaim Hames, a rector of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, that located close to the place of October 7, 2023 massacre by Hamas).


Shalom,


"In every generation, a person must see himself as if she/he came out of Egypt"

This commandment, taken from the Mishna (Pesachim 10:5), appears in the Haggadah in one of the most dramatic moments after mentioning the three things (Pesach, Matzah, and Maror – bitter herbs) without which, according to Rabbi Gamliel, we have not fulfilled the obligation to observe the Seder. The additional obligation is that every one of us must see himself or herself as if he or she had come out of Egypt. It is interesting that the Mishna uses the root "see" in this context. This seeing can be interpreted in several ways - actual vision or introspection; seeing everyone who is sitting with us around the Seder table and by extension, also around the national table, and observation and internalization of the personal responsibility of each one of us to ourselves, our family, society and our country.

We celebrate Passover this year when the reality that has accompanied us since October 7th (and the previous year) resonates and presents us with personal and social/national challenges. The obligation to see ourselves as coming out of Egypt takes on a different meaning when the hostages, among them, Noa Argamani, languish in captivity in Gaza, and we count our dead, our wounded, and the refugees in our country. This year, seeing ourselves as if we left Egypt requires a deep identification with the other who is an inseparable part of every one of us, everyone who is enslaved and cannot at this moment in

time experience freedom.

We received a painful reminder this year that leaving Egypt from slavery to freedom involves great sacrifice, pain and suffering. When we sit around the Seder table, we should remember those who are not with us and thank those who enable us to celebrate the holiday. We should talk about personal and national identity, freedom of thought and spirit, leadership and responsibility, equal shouldering of the burden of sustaining our society and country, social justice, and cohesiveness. We should focus on our commitment to society and

the country, and we should recognize the good in our lives and not just dwell on the bad and the negative.

If the hostages and our soldiers return safe and sound, peace will come upon us, and we will have worthy public servants, it will suffice (Dayenu)!

Happy Passover!



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