We have begun to count the Omer and we have begun the countdown to forming a government

Elections remind us of democracy, Pesach reminds us that liberty brings a goal and responsibility with i

Sivan Rahav-Meir ,

Sivan Rahav-Meirמצליחה להביא את הטוב מכל המגזרים. סיון רהב-מאיר
Sivan Rahav-Meirמצליחה להביא את הטוב מכל המגזרים. סיון רהב-מאיר
Eyal ben Ayishצילום: אייל בן יעיש

• Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

This was the worst time and the best time to hold elections. The worst time – because we are a Jewish state. There is a certain unique atmosphere just before Pesach, and it was destroyed this year.

By the way, it is also not desirable to hold elections on Yom Kippur Eve. It would have been possible to schedule these elections a little earlier or a little later. In these days before Pesach, there is a feeling of celebration, of unity, of family togetherness, especially after a year of corona isolation.

And there is also the important mitzvah of removing every trace of chametz through deep cleaning; the nation of Israel was preoccupied cleaning its homes, its cars, and everything else. I would not be surprised if the low voter turnout was connected to this. It's not very convenient to jump in the car and ride to the polling station just when you finish taking everything out of the refrigerator and all the food is in the living room.

But this was also the best time to vote, as we were reminded of the value of a coaltion. Because after all the divisions and denouncements, a night of holiness – the Seder night – arrived to usher in the broadest coalition. It's a truly unified coalition since more than 90% of the Jews in Israel celebrate it.

This year's Seder night reminds us that we have a story with a much deeper meaning than that found in the chapter about the fourth elections. We have a powerful common denominator, cultural richness that belongs to all of us, and a common mission that begins with the Exodus from Egypt and continues until today.

According to Wikipedia, the words most searched on the Internet in Israel prior to the latest elections were "Ka'arat Leil HaSeder" (Seder plate). This is clear proof that Pesach in the Land of Israel is a national coalition.

And this is the kind of story that, even if familiar to many, is worth reading again. In 1947, David Ben-Gurion spoke before a United Nations investigative committee that had arrived in Israel. He explained our connection to this land as follows:

"Three hundred years ago, a ship called the Mayflower set sail for the New World. This was a seminal event in the history of both England and America. But I want to know if there is a single Englishman who knows on what date the ship embarked and how many Americans know this. Do they know how many people were on board and what kind of bread they ate as they departed?

"And yet, 3,000 years before the Mayflower, the Jews left Egypt and every Jew in the world, including those in America and the Soviet Union, know the date they left was the 15th of Nissan. And everyone knows exactly what kind of bread the Jews ate: matzos. And until today, Jews throughout the world eat these same matzos on the 15th of Nissan - in America, in Russia, and in a multitude of other countries. And they tell the story of the painful experience of Jews when they went into Egyptian exile and of their redemption when they finally left. And they finish the story with this exhortation: this year we are slaves, next year we will be free. This year we are here, next year in Jerusalem, in Zion, in the Land of Israel. Such an innate longing is part of the nature of every Jew."

And yes, the Seder is behind us, but Shavuot is ahead of us! After 48 hours of holiness, of Shabbat and the first day of Pesach, we began to count. Day one of counting the Omer, two days, three days and so on until the holiday that marks the giving of the Torah, the festival of Shavuot. The counting of the Omer continues for seven weeks and connects these two festivals - Pesach and Shavuot.

There is an important principle here: the festival of Pesach may be a climactic moment in our history, but there is another climactic moment to come that's even greater. The Exodus out of Egypt leads to Mount Sinai. We did not gain freedom for its own sake, but rather from a desire to fill that freedom with content. Freedom is not only about rights or privileges, but also about responsibilities. Freedom was not just an end to our horrible enslavement to Pharaoh, but rather the beginning of our meaningful "enslavement" -- to values, to truth, to everything we would receive on Mount Sinai.

Everyone is invited to join in the counting.



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