a Festival of Freedom
15 Nisan 5776
I want to bring you a geopolitical idea for today. If we compare the ruler of Egypt at the time of Pesach with the powers of today, we could say that it is the United States, or the European Union or even the United Nations. It was an empire in control of the world. Israel had limited capacity to exercise their free will without the right to make their own decisions even though they were comfortable and relatively free living in Goshen. A new Pharaoh arose and began to oppress the Israelites who had lived for many years in peace and prosperity. This was similar to the Jews of Germany before the last war. They were very comfortable, many having assimilated to the religion of the Germans in order to receive titles of nobility. Suddenly Hitler rose up, as “the new Pharaoh who did not know Joseph” and tried to completely destroy the very people who had served them so well. Many Jews had fought bravely during WW1 dying for their country and earning medals of honor for Germany. The Jews in Germany couldn’t believe that this advanced society would ever allow such atrocities to happen to them. They were sure it would pass. Finally many were able to flee but millions perished because they failed to take the initiative of move in time or were simply too poor to go. The people who did manage to flee Germany survived. That is one of the biggest problems with the religious leaders who tell their people not to worry; the Messiah will deliver them or like today that God won’t let us suffer; He will take us away. This is an escapist theory. When things don’t go well, get prepared and get out and go. He gave us brains and resources.
When Yeshua was alive the Israelites were in the land of Israel which had fallen under the rule of the super-power Rome and they could not make decisions on self-governance. Today things haven’t changed too much. Let me give you a simple example. Has Israel been able to choose its own capital city? We all know that it is Jerusalem but the major countries of the world have built all their embassies in Tel Aviv including that UN and the USA and still did not recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. Are we free, able to determine our own future? We are constantly under threat of complete destruction. Rome is still dominating this world under the banner of the Super Powers. In Israel, the zealots are once again rising up becoming terrorists like the enemy. We have the right to defend ourselves but we do not have the right to be criminals. We are called to a higher standard especially concerning the sacredness of life and we must not give that up. Yes there is injustice against us and we need to cry this out at the United Nations. We know that there were never a people known as the Palestinians rather these people are made up of Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese and Syrians. Although we have a right to that land, we do not have the right to destroy people who are not attacking us. Instead of elevating the name of Israel, this behavior puts it down. With all Israel’s problems we still are better than the other nations because of our God.
Passover is a festival of deliverance, freedom and thanksgiving giving us the responsibility to respond to him. This is why He removed us from the slavery of Egypt. We don’t need to hide but we can act in a responsible manner. As followers of Messiah Yeshua, we are taught to do the right thing and to take responsibility for our behavior. May God give us the wisdom to do things in the right way as we wait for and pray for the Messiah to come soon. Chag Pesach Sameach.