HaggadahSivan Rahav Meir

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

He did not agree to be photographed, but allowed me to photograph the booklet he held in his hand. It was a booklet that introduced Judaism to children. He approached me at the end of my lecture and introduced himself: 30 years old, an accountant from Amsterdam who was attending the “Go Jewish” Shabbat gathering that had been organized for young Jewish men and women from throughout Europe.

Since the horrible massacre on Simchat Torah, he decided that he wanted to study Judaism. He had to start somewhere and so, without embarrassment, he was learning from this booklet.

He is now reading the chapter on Passover and is learning the meaning of three basic words: pesach, matzah, and maror. He wants to fully understand the Haggadah and all of us would do well to emulate the enthusiasm with which he is preparing for the Seder.

I photographed several pages from his booklet to illustrate its appeal to children and others at a beginners’ level. I told him that he was following in the footsteps of one of our greatest sages, Rabbi Akiva, who began to learn Torah at the age of 40. Like a child, Rabbi Akiva had to start with the letter aleph, followed by the letter beit and so on, until he reached the highest level of Torah scholarship.

And I wondered how many other surprise developments may be occurring in the world today without our noticing them, and how many other individuals may be undergoing a transformation similar to what has happened to this young man.

On Simchat Torah, a 30-year-old Dutch accountant knew nothing about his heritage and his people and suddenly now, on the holiday of Passover, he will be privileged, for the first time, to experience leaving slavery for freedom