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Ask the Rabbi
Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.) Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching. She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:
Nissan 8, 5768, 4/13/2008
Is that the "freedom" they sing about in America? Is it a freedom from rules and work?
No it's not. As a language teacher, I'm going to tell you that the use of the word "freedom" for Passover just confuses people. There are people who claim that they shouldn't have to clean so much and change the kitchen, because it's supposed to be the Freedom Holiday. And there are those who say they should be able to eat bread on Pesach, because they want their freedom.
Passover isn't that kind of "freedom."
I think that "freedom" is the wrong definition for חרותת "Cherut." Maybe "Cherut" is more like independence or self-reliance. Independence and self-reliance aren't easy. They demand responsibility. It's the opposite of slavery. A slave doesn't make his own decisions. A slave is owned by someone else, and we were owned by Pharaoh in Egypt. Being a slave is easy; you can always blame someone else. It's never your fault.
On Passover we must eat matzah, "lechem oni," poorman's bread. Some people may see the irony in it. Wouldn't the poor man's bread be for slaves? Isn't a slave poor, so the opposite of slave should be rich? Shouldn't the "non slave" then eat cake?
There are Jews who make their own matzot.
That's the act of a free man, making one's own food, instead of producing for the owner.
I pray that our nation be truly free and not slaves to the modern Pharaoh.