A Passover Message April 2, 1996
In a few hours I will, with the help of G-d, enact an ancient Jewish ritual, performed the evening before Pesach. After sunset and evening prayers we go home and do a `bedikat hametz' - in other words, we do a thorough search of our homes, making absolutely certain that they are totally `hametz-free.' Hametz is the leavening which causes bread or cake to rise - yeast. Over the seven days of Pesach the main prohibition is against eating any leavened product - for this reason we only eat Matzot - unleavened bread. It is made only of flour and water - it contains nothing else. The first act done, celebrating the beginning of Pesach is the `bedikat hametz' and then, in the morning, the burning of the remaining hametz. There are many interpretations of `bedikat hametz.' One of the most famous explains that the search for hametz and it's later burning represents humility. People are easily `puffed up' - proud and vain. The day before the celebration of our national `birthday,' the re- enacting of our liberation from slavery in Egypt and the birth of the Israeli nation, we reinstill in ourselves, - trying to remind ourselves, so to speak, that we are entirely in the hands of G-d, all we have has been granted to us, not necessarily because we deserve it, but because of His goodness and kindness. We search ourselves for leavening, for the substances within us that leave us haughty and conceited and burn them, in a very moving and humbling experience. One of the most important lessons that I have learned over the years is that almost any significant precept pertaining to an individual also pertains to what we call in Hebrew, the `Klal' - or the overall Jewish People, not as individuals, but as a nation, a people. The `bedikat hametz' we do as individuals must also be performed nationally. National introspection isn't easily accomplished, especially if it is done honestly. The current period of two months before the elections should be just this, national introspection - an in-depth examination of who we are, where we have been, where we are now, and where we are going. Based on this, people can go to the polls and make a calculated, legitimate choice, determined by the views and policies of the candidates. However, in order for this to be a true, honest experience, the alternatives must be clearly presented. Unfortunately, over here, they are not. Four years ago, the late Prime Minister Rabin made now famous remarks, such as, `whoever abandons the Golan Heights abandons the security of Israel.' Labor's platform negated any discussion with Arafat and the PLO, as well as a palestinian state. There is no need to elaborate on the actions of the ruling party over the last four years. Yesterday Shimon Peres suddenly decided to announce a national referendum on the final treaty between Israel and Arafat. In other words, he is saying, the issue of a final Israeli-palestinian treaty is a non-issue - a separate vote will determine its status. Arutz 7 today reported that Peres has been having secret discussions with `high-level' settler leaders, offering them a deal: he promises that no settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gazza will be evacuated, in the final stage of the piece agreement. To the contrary, they will be annexed. The price: a public call by these leaders to vote for Peres and PARTS OF EAST JERUSALEM, to be given to the Arabs! In all truth, Likud policy statements are far from clear. But, I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine that they would consider such policies, which are liable to wreak havoc on Israel. Such policies, as those espoused by Peres do not represent national liberation - rather they are prime examples self-inflicted slavery - a bowing- down to an imaginary peace - for the sake of ..... who? Peres wants nothing more than to be remembered in history as the GREAT PEACEMAKER. Instead, he will be remembered as the great piecemaker. His vanity is tangible. This year's national `bedikat hametz' has overwhelming importance. I hope that the Israeli people, perhaps after tonight's `bedikat hametz' and seven-day Festival of Liberation, will make the right decision. --------- Yesterday I had the honor to speak on Nahum Segal's radio show on WFMU in New York, at 7:30 in the morning. The last question he asked me was, "Passover is known as the children's holiday. The evening Seder is based around educating our children. How would you describe the message we send to our children when we raise them in Hebron?" I answered "that Hebron's children live their ideals - they live the ideals of the Patriarchs and Matriarch, they live the ideals of King David, who began ruling in Hebron, they live the ideals of Kalev ben Yefuneh, who came to pray in Hebron, they live the ideals of the generations of the Jewish People, through the ages. They are happy healthy children, who will pass on these ideals to their children, as they grow up and have their own families." I concluded by saying, "I wish upon all the children of the world the spiritual richness of Hebron's children." For Hebron's children, as well of the rest of Hebron's residents are living examples of true liberation - liberation from the bonds of slavery encompassing so many others - Hebron's residents don't live for themselves - they live for the people of Israel - and there is no greater liberation than this. To all of Hebron's faithful supporters, and to all Beit Yisrael Chag Pesach Kasher v'Sameach! A HAPPY PASSOVER TO ALL BEIT YISRAEL!