We refer to Pesah as zeman heruteinu, the time of our freedom. Maybe that’s why this is one of the most observed holidays among American Jews, as liberty is a core American concept. But are the Jewish and American versions of freedom/liberty one and the same? And if they are not, are they even compatible?
In the text of the Haggadah, we actually tell two versions of our freedom story, each of which meets the definition of our storytelling mandate: we are to “begin with disgrace and conclude with glory.” What are those two models of liberty in our Seder ritual?
On Shabbat morning, before Yizkor, we will look at liberty as understood by our tradition, with the help of two intellectual giants from the last century: Isaiah Berlin and Chaim Nachman Bialik. And we’ll contemplate how Yizkor marks both a loss of our freedom and an opportunity to exercise it again.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sameah,
Rabbi David Wise