Pesach: Slaves in the Land
Friday, March 30, 2012
Northern Israel is different than the center in many ways. It’s comprised of several different cities, each sporting the basics in life. However, there are plenty of villages, former kibbutzim, yishuvim, etc… that are Jewish, “Dru-ish”, or Muslim. Many times, you can’t get what you need (or it’s too expensive), so you can go to another city or village. For example, if you need good, yet cheap, furniture, there is a Druzy village fifteen minutes away from here. The only catch is you need a car. And that’s why cars are more ‘popular’ here than in the center.
Unfortunately, during the holidays, you get to see first-hand the spiritual level that we have sunken to. We live in a city of 50,000 people. Only the religious celebrated Purim. That’s IT! For Pesach, ONE of the major stores dedicated half an aisle for Pesach food. Yes, everybody is selling matzah, but that’s about it.
I did some research on what the rest of the community does for Pesach shopping and found out the solution. I rented a car from somebody in the kollel (great price, but expensive on the gas), and my wife and I drove one morning to Kiryiat Bialik, located in between Haifa and Akko. There is a huge store there that was packed with Pesach food and supplies, all for very good prices. Interestingly enough, they had no Arab workers. Rather, half of the employees were evil Ultra-Orthodox (who don’t work, remember), and the other half was completely secular. It was interesting to see everybody interact. In fact, many people came to me with questions about kashrus or store-related issues, thinking that I worked there.
All in all, it was a great shopping experience, for only 130 shekels for the car and gas, my wife and I had a nice driving date in the north without children, and we were able to buy products that we can’t get here.
Oh yes, before we begin: I’ve uploaded a Pesach gift for those interested. 20 MB of photos from the North (first 100 people only). Enjoy!
Okay, on to Torah!This year I was able to get my hands on a new Haggadah, called “K’motzei Shelal Rav”, which is comprised of different dvrei torah from different sources throughout the Haggadah. I worthwhile investment if you’re looking for something new (Hebrew only).
Every Pesach, we say, “Now, we are here. Next year, in Eretz Yisroel. Now we are slaves. Next year, free men”. The Satmar Rav asks, why is this language “doubled”? Isn’t it granted, if next year we are in Eretz Yisroel, than we will be free men as well?
He cites the Targum Yonason that says on the first Pesach night, the Jews were “flown” to the future site of the Beis HaMikdash where they ate their Korban Pesach, and then they were returned to Egypt afterwards (I’m not too sure how to understand this one on a simple level: were they spiritually there? Physically there? Not important though for this discussion…). We see from here, says the Satmar Rav, that while the Jews entered Eretz Yisroel, they were still in Golus, in exile. So, it’s possible to be in Eretz Yisroel as slaves, hence we ask to be returned to Eretz Yisroel as free men.
We see it clearly today as well. Just take a brief look at the state of affairs. The modern State of Israel was created so Jews can “take care of themselves” and “have their own army” and to “be like the other nations”. Yet… we are limited to how we can “take care of ourselves”, by how we can use “our own army”, and unlike many other nations, we are at the whim of “other nations”. If Israel is attacked by Hamas, the world condemns Israel. If Israel wants to retaliate, they need to go get permission first from the US, England or France… FRANCE! Can you imagine!? Israel has to get permission from a country that signs a declaration of war and then flips over the paper and signs their surrender documents two seconds later! THIS IS FREEDOM??? To answer to a nation that eats SNAILS??? No… it’s not!
We are a nation that is in Galus. Whether you live in the US or in Eretz Yisroel, you live in Golus. And even if you are not physically in bonds, you are spiritually in bonds. That is why you have cities, full of people, in ERETZ YISROEL that can’t even celebrate the easiest or the most important holidays in the Jewish year. Because, while we beat our chests and say slogans like “Never again”, the reality of the situation is, we are in Golus. We might have access to Eretz Yisroel, but only as slaves, not as freemen.
May it be THIS year that we should return to Eretz Yisroel as freemen… free from the yoke of other nations and free from the spiritual yoke that is upon us.
Have a great Shabbos!
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