By Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought”
1. “Next year in the reconstructed Jerusalem” concludes the annual reciting of the Passover Saga. How pertinent in March 2010?!
2. How central is Passover in Judaism and in the context of Judeo-Christian values? “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” The first of the Ten Commandment refers to the Exodus and not to the creation of the world or to God’s Covenant with Abraham or Jacob. The remembrance of the Passover Saga (via daily prayers) and the annual family reciting of the Exodus (on the eve of Passover) are included among the 613 Laws of Moses. The Passover Saga is highlighted in most Jewish prayers and rituals, such as daily services, the welcoming of the Sabbath, the blessing over the wine, during each holiday, upon circumcision, at the door step (Mezuzah) of Jewish homes, etc.
3. David Ben Gurion, the Founding Father of Israel (UN Commission, 1947): “300 years ago, the Mayflower launched its historical voyage. How many remember the data of the voyage, how many passengers were on the Mayflower and what kind of bread did they consume? However, 3,300 years earlier, the Exodus from Egypt took place. Every Jew knows the date of the Exodus – 15th of the Jewish month of Nissan – and the kind of bread – Matza, unleavened bread – consumed. Until today, Jews all over the world, tell the story of the Exodus and eat Matza on the 15th of Nissan. They conclude the story of the Exodus with the statement: ‘This year we’re slaves, but next year we shall be liberated; this year we’re here, but next year in the reconstructed Jerusalem.’” The prayer Next Year in the Reconstructed Jerusalem is recited twice a year: Yom Kippur and Passover, the most sublime spiritual and physical Jewish experiences.
4. Passover highlights the fact that the Jewish People have been passed-over by history’s angel of death, in defiance of conventional wisdom. Non-normative salvation has characterized Jewish history ever since the Exodus, the Parting of the Sea, destruction of the Temple, exiles, pogroms, expulsions, Holocaust, Communist and other forms of Anti-Semitism, on-going Arab/Muslim wars and terrorism, etc. However, the involvement of Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Caleb and Nachshon (the first to step into the Red Sea before its parting) attests to the crucial role played by principle-driven steadfast leaders.
5. Passover highlights the centrality of Liberty, Roots, Education and Collective Responsibility. Passover commemorates the creation of the Jewish People and their transformation from Diaspora-slavery to National-deliverance. The difference between the spelling of Ge’oolah (גאולה deliverance in Hebrew) and Golah (גולה Diaspora in Hebrew) is the first Hebrew letter Alef (א), the root of the Alpha-Bet. The Hebrew spelling of critical root values and terms begins with Alef: G-D, Truth, Faith, Covenant, Credibility, Awesome, Power, Abraham, Light, Father, Mother, Love, Soil, Adam, Courage, Spring, Unity, Food, Responsibility, Immortality/Everlasting, Cure, Horizon, Patrimony, Tree. In order to attain liberty and to transform (personal or national) Diaspora into Deliverance one must return to the roots.
6. The Exodus took place around 1,300BC, 600-700 years before Greek philosophers promoted democracy, establishing the Jewish People in the forefront in the on-going battle against rogue regimes. Passover is celebrated on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan – the first month of the Jewish year and the introduction of natural and national spring (Nitzan is the Babylonian word for spring and the Hebrew word for bud). Nissan (its root is Ness – miracle in Hebrew) is the month of miracles, such as the Exodus, the Parting of the Sea, Jacob wrestling the Angel, Deborah’s victory over Sisera, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, etc. The 15th day of any Jewish month is endowed with full moon, which stands for optimism in defiance of darkness and awesome odds. It is consistent with 15 parts of the Hagadah (the chronicles of Passover), 15 generations between Abraham’s message of monotheism and Solomon’s construction of the first Temple and the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shvat, Arbor Day – the “Exodus” of vegetation.
7. Passover has four names: Holiday of Pesach (Passed-over; sacrifice), Holiday of Liberty, Holiday of Matza and Holiday of Spring. The number 4 features during Passover: 4 Sons, 4 glasses of wine, 4 questions, and 4 stages of divine deliverance. The 4th Hebrew letter (ד) stands for G-D.
8. Passover is the first Jewish holiday, according to the Jewish calendar, which starts in the spring (Aviv in Hebrew, which consists of two Hebrew words: Father of 12 months), the bud of nature. The word spring is mentioned 3 times in the Torah, all in reference to Exodus. Passover – which commemorates the creation of the Jewish nation – lasts for 7 days, just like the creation of the universe. Passover is the first Jewish pilgrimage and the basis for the other two annual pilgrimages. Thus, the first stop of the Exodus was at Soukkota (Soukkot/Tabernacles – the 3rd pilgrimage), and Passover is the prelude to the receipt of the Torah/Ten Commandments (Shavou’ot/Pentecost – the 2nd pilgrimage).
9. Passover (role model of Liberty/Exodus) interacts with Pentecost (role model of Morality/Ten Commandments), since Liberty interacts with Morality. The one constitutes a prerequisite for the other. The Liberty-Morality interaction/interdependence distinguishes Western democracies from rogue regimes. No appeasing-rhetoric would transform rogue regime into a free/moral entity. Herut is the Hebrew word for Liberty and Harut (spelled with identical Hebrew words) is the Hebrew word for Inscription, which refers to the Ten Commandments.
10. Passover – just like monotheism, the Sabbath, Ten Commandments, repentance/Yom Kippur – constitutes a Jewish gift to humanity. It constitutes inspiration to liberty and to national liberation (“Let My People Go”). Jews have been targeted by enemies of Liberty (from Pharaoh, Nazism, Communism to Palestinian/Arab/Islamic terrorism and Ahmadinejad), because Jews have been rightly perceived as the messengers of liberty as a God-given natural right and equality before the law.
11. Moses, the hero of Passover, has become a role model of principled leadership. Moses’ name is mentioned only once in the Passover Hagadah, as a servant of G-d, a testimony to Moses’ humility, in order to humanize – rather than deify – Moses and to highlight the role of God in the Exodus. Similarly, Moses’ grave site is purposely unknown, and the only compliment accorded by the Torah to Moses – a prime leader in human history – is “the humblest of all human beings”. The Mosaic legacy has greatly impacted the US democracy. Hence, Moses’ marble replica at the House Chamber on Capitol Hill (facing the Speaker), at the Rayburn House Office Building’s subway station and at the Supreme Court.
12. Passover inspired Puritans, Pilgrims and the US Founding Fathers:
*George Washington and John Adams were compared to Moses and Joshua.
*Adams, Jefferson and Franklin proposed the Parting of the Sea as the official US seal.
*John Locke – who drafted the first constitution of the Carolinas – considered Moses’ 613 Laws as the most fitting legal foundation of the new society in America.
*Ezra Styles, the President of Yale University: “Moses, the man of God, assembled three million people – the number of people in America in 1776…” (May 8, 1783).
*President Calvin Coolidge: “The Hebraic mortars cemented the foundations of American democracy…” (May 3, 1925).
*John Winthrop, the first Governor of Massachusetts: “God has entered into a Covenant with those who are on their way to wilderness in America, just as he had entered into Covenant with the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai…” (1630 sermon on the Arbella).
They considered themselves “the modern day People of the Covenant “, King Charles was “the modern day Pharaoh”, the Atlantic was “the modern day Red Sea” and America was “the modern day Promised Land, New Canaan”.
The term Federalism is based on “Foedus”, the Latin word for “The Covenant.” The Founding Fathers considered the political structure of the 12 Tribes, sustaining semi-independence, governed by their own Presidents/Governors and by Moses the Chief Executive, Aaron, Joshua and the 70 person Legislature, a model for the 13 colonies and the US political system.
13. The Exodus is mentioned 50 times in the Torah, equal to the 50 years of Jubilee, a historical pivot of liberty (“Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all the inhabitants thereof”, Leviticus, 25, 10, inscribed on the Liberty Bell). 50 days following the Exodus, Moses received the Torah, which includes – according to Jewish tradition – 50 Gates of Wisdom. Where does that leave the 50 States?!
14. Passover commemorates the victory of Jewish demography. Jacob arrived to Egypt with 70 members of his family, but Moses launched the Exodus with 600,000 adult males and a total of some 3 million people. The Exodus was the first case of a massive Jewish immigration (Aliya) to Israel, in defiance of odds and projections – as have been all major Aliya waves since 1948 (1950s, 1970s and 1990s) – but consistent with Jewish history and destiny. A Jewish Demographic tailwind is currently in motion between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. The number of annual Jewish births has surged 50% between 1995 (80,400) and 2009 (121,000), while the number of Arab births has remained constant during the same period. While Herzl launched the Zionist voyage – in 1897 – with an 8% Jewish minority west of the Jordan River, and Ben-Gurion celebrated the November 1947 UN vote with a 33% minority, today’s Jewish State is endowed with a 67% majority in the combined area of Pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria (a 60% majority with Gaza).
“Next Year in the Reconstructed Jerusalem”
It is so interesting how fascinated Jews are with numerology. It is of note when special things happen in sequence to God’s timing, but it seems almost like a religion in itself to Torah believing Jews.
Jews have never been targeted by enemies of liberty, but they have been persecuted because they are affiliated with the Creator and carried His Word for us all for thousands of years so we might know the God who freed them from slavery. God continues to free us from bondage – the bondage of sin – now not only through the Law and the Prophets, but through His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. This is everlasting liberty through trust, faith, and obedience to His truth.
AMEIN! Yes, it glorious to know that Yeshua is The Davar – Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvi’im & Brit Chadashah – become flesh. He is after all our Alef to the Tav and by His Spirit/Ruach The WORD is Life eternal:)
Blessed be YHVH Eloheinu King of all