Question: The Jewish nation has gone through a special transformation, the transition from slavery to freedom, to which the feast of Pesach (Passover) is dedicated. What is the meaning of this transformation?
Answer: The meaning of liberation from slavery is acquiring the power of love due to exiting from one’s egoism. We are under the control of the system that advances us, especially given under the power of our egoism, which is called Pharaoh.
First, we feel good in this bondage, but then realize that we are in exile and are slaves to the egoism that rules over us absolutely. We do not agree with this authority and wish to escape from it, from the bad attitudes towards each other, because we see that in this form, it is impossible to move on and exist.
After many failed attempts, we become convinced that nothing can be done and only a miracle can save us. Indeed, egoism is killing us to the extent that we do not see success in anything in our lives in any way. In this way, Pharaoh’s rule between us is manifested.
That is the situation we see today in Israel. There are 23 political parties in a little country, huge gaps between different layers of the population, crisis in the education system, an increasing divorce rate, and growing use of drugs. Half of the citizens would be willing to move to another country if given the chance.
Our unkind attitude to each other can be seen from the behavior on the roads and elsewhere. We are divided by indifference to others and pride. Egoism reigns within us and makes us act in this way. It is not our fault, but it is our nature that plays with us.
One must realize that our nature is the evil inclination, which enslaves us. If we do not get out of it, then our lives will be over and we will not leave behind anything good for our children. Life will become worse and they will not have even those crumbs of happiness that we once had.
This is slavery, and the Passover Haggadah tells us how to escape it to reach freedom. But above all, we need to understand that we are in slavery. After all, while you see yourself in the darkness of egoism that separates us through mutual hatred, it is impossible to understand the reality of freedom from this angel of death.
We have to desire to become a free people in our own country, independent of our desire. We need to wish to achieve love, connection, mutual guarantee, and unity between everyone above our egoistic nature.
The people of Israel once escaped its egoism and rose to a height of unity and love, which is called the building of the Temple. But then we were not able to remain at that height and fell from it.
Rabbi Akiva taught that you cannot leave the principle of love for others as oneself; otherwise, we will again fall back to unfounded hatred. Egypt is the state of causeless hatred between us. After the destruction of the Second Temple 2,000 year ago, we returned to this state of hatred, which is called Egypt.
After thousands of years of living in unity and connection, the Jewish people again went to Egypt, to unfounded hatred. But today the whole world must realize that we are in Egypt.
Once, a small group led by Abraham left Babylon and became united into the people of Israel. But then it went back to Babylon and mingled with all the Babylonians. Today, we again find ourselves facing the same Tower of Babel and are confronted with hatred towards each other and the unwillingness to know and understand others. This is called a confusion of the tongues.
Once again, we have to make the same action as was once performed in ancient Babylon. It is said that acts of the fathers are an example for their sons. Today, we once more need to exit from Egypt, but this will be the last exile before the final liberation.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 3/22/15