Sunday, March 28, 2010

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In Every Generation

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

"In Every Generation They Rise Up Against Us..." (Passover Haggadah)

I can scarcely believe what is going on. Pronouncements declaring the holiest of Jewish places not Jewish. Statements that Jews living in Jerusalem are the source of all political problems in the world. Insinuations that Jews defending themselves are illegal acts. Attacks and threats against Jews in communities in various countries, including the U.S., throughout the world.

After the Holocaust we could barely survive. The U.S. and select Western and South American Nations (notably Canada, England, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, and later France) offered a haven for the Jewish people. Yes there was some discrimination, but (generally speaking) there were no organized attacks, mass outbreaks of violence, government targeting. Jews were (generally / somewhat) free to breath, live, learn, grow, rebuild.

We, the Jewish people, were given a breather. For 4 generations we had freedom from the constant attacks of generations... And the memories of the horrors faded with our great grandparents from our lives.

[ Not so in Israel, where the struggle for survival and the horror of senseless slaughter has been an event facing every generation. Yet after 3 generations of it, with the ability (denied throughout history) to fight back, they've developed a remarkable ability to compartmentalize. For a country facing existential threats and daily life with terror threats, they are remarkably positive about the future and not militaristic or warlike. ]

The Holocaust itself has become a thing of museums and history books. The horror has faded from our collective souls.

We have forgotten that they rise up against us in every generation, for we (most of us) haven't seen it blatantly, directly, in our face for 3 generations. Perhaps our brethren in Israel have been our proxy, taking the brunt of those who would destroy the Jewish people for the recent past. But for those of us not in Israel through the past generations, we have forgotten what it's like.

We have forgotten so well that we can't even IMAGINE it being the case anymore! When one organization after another is making pronouncements that they want to SLAUGHTER THE JEWS, we laugh it off as ridiculous. When multiple countries are BLAMING THE JEWS for their woes and/or the world's woes, we shake our heads at their ignorance and stupidity - we don't get a shiver at the fulfillment of "and they rise up", we don't feel a twinge of fear at their threats.

Because we don't believe it can happen, it can happen again, or that it's starting again in this generation. How can this modern day and age, this time of enlightenment, intelligence, and information actually generate such threats?

But my dear friends, they have, they are, it is. Do not ignore "they rise up against us", for though a dim memory of the past it's with us again.

Yet I say this not to generate worry and fear. For the pasuk ends "and HaKodesh Baruch Hu (the Holy One, Blessed Be He) saves us from their hand." When we see and believe in the first part of the pasuk, we also must believe the in the second part.

The Passover Seder is not just an exercise of a historical practice, not just a cultural icon to pass on to the next generation. It's also a LESSON we give to our children. Until the Geulah Shalayma, the total and complete redemption, they will rise up against us in every generation. We must prepare, and know that ONLY by holding on to HaKodesh Baruch Hu will we be saved from their hand.

Chag Kasher v'Samayach, a Kosher and Happy Passover!


Batya said...

Chag Sameach!

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