Moshe Kempinski, author of "The Teacher and the Preacher", is the editor of the Jerusalem Insights weekly email journal and co-owner of Shorashim, a Biblical shop and learning center in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Again a representative of the current American administration arrives in the region and again Israel is coerced into continuing a process that has incorrectly been called a “Peace Process “.
The Israelis have again released murderous terrorists while the blood of their victims still cry out from the ground. It is called “a gesture to promote peace and trust” while in reality it was simply a travesty of human justice and plain common sense.
Giving gifts to terror always, but always, brings more terror. Driving through the streets of Jerusalem one still sees the half torn signs and the abandoned protest tent that all cry out the same message “Titbayshu-You should be ashamed”. A silent truth, we should feel the shame.
In reality it is not surprising that this current American administration is unabashedly throwing away all the principles they once stood for. First of all they, in fact, are not the ones being put at risk .More importantly this administration is in dire need of showing some success. This success will sit nicely with their “success” of abandoning the civilian resistance in Iran and aiding by inaction the fanatic Muslim takeover of Egypt by the Brotherhood. It is in line with the backing away from confronting Syria's crimes against humanity because "now they are talking". The pattern is clear.
The question is the Israeli government. What is the source of their enslavement to the whims of this current American administration? Is it simply money and verbal promises or does the problem go much deeper?
We see that when the Israelites finally begin their process of Redemption, G-d commands them regarding three commandments. These commandments will become necessary tools to help take a people born into slavery into a process of spiritual and psychological liberation. This is in fact the process that must precede the physical liberation.
In the Torah portion of Bo read this week, it says the following;
1. And Hashem spoke unto Moshe and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying: 2 'This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying: In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household; … 7 And they shall take of the blood, and put it on the two side-posts and on the lintel, upon the houses wherein they shall eat it "(Exodus 12:1-7)
The first of these three commandments is the “Declaration of the New Month”.
All mortals at time feel as if they are victimized by the rush of time. We sense that we are victims of the rushing river of time being dragged forward and at the same time seeing the shores of life flitting by. This is especially true of a slave people where nothing belongs to them, including the control of their time.
So G-d commands them to declare a new month, “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months”. G-d is telling these people; 'I have given you the power to sanctify the month. Not only can you declare the month’s beginning, but you actually will sanctify it with holiness. Based on your determination of the new month, G-d declares the date of the appointed time and festival .
The second commandment speaks of gathering each and every family into their own home.
“ Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying: In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household;”(ibid:3)
Another people would have probably celebrated their redemption in a public and festive gathering in Tahrir Square in the middle of Cairo .With this commandment ,G-d is revealing to them that the secret of a people will be found as each family becomes the individual and cohesive building block of this people.
Yet it is the third commandment that truly sets them free to choose their own destiny. It is that power that has been sorely lacking in some segments of our people throughout years of our exile.
“They shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household; … And they shall take of the blood, and put it on the two side-posts and on the lintel, upon the houses wherein they shall eat it.( ibid 6-7)
Why a lamb, and why the blood on the lintel
The lamb was one of the gods in Egypt and considered holy in Egyptian theology. It is for this reason that Joseph finds the Israelites a separate area to live away from the rest of the Egyptian people;
And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and you shall say: What is your occupation? That you shall say: Thy servants have been keepers of cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and our fathers; that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians( Genesis 46: 32-34)
We see this again with Moshe and Pharoah "And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said: “Go ye, sacrifice to your G-d in the land.” And Moses said: “It is not meet to do so; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us?"( Genesis 8: 21-22:)
It was at great risk that the Israelites took a lamb on the tenth of the first month and sacrificed it as a Passover sacrifice on the eve of their exodus. It was their courage and faith of placing a telltale sign of their actions outside for all to see that G-d was responding to. The blood itself had no spiritual or magical power. If it did, it could have been placed on the table with the Seder tray. It was the act of courage to stand against their mortal slave masters and to daub the blood of their lamb of idolatry on the doorframes that made the change "And the blood shall be to you for a sign upon the houses where ye are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you" (Exodus 12:13)
The courage to trust G-d enough to stand all those foreign powers attempting to create their own version of destiny is what is sadly lacking in our leadership today. Yet when they will be forced by events and reality to rediscover that strength we will see Hashem’s plan will moving forward quickly and decisively.
LeRefuat Yehudit Bat Golda Yocheved