Daily Israel Report
Start a blog

Blogs Zion's Corner

FREEDOM! Not Quite

By Batya Medad
4/13/2008, 12:00 AM

Passover has many names. It is primarily known חג המצות the Holiday of Matzot and  as חג החרות, זמן חירותנו the Holiday or Season of Our Freedom, but what does that really mean?

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.