Monday, April 2, 2018

Passover 2018: We are Still Slaves

Growing up, I always loved Passover. In our house it was a family affair preparing -- changing dishes, making the food for the seders, setting the table, sitting around our large room sized table with everyone whom I loved, grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends and some strays and first timers. It was magical!!! Especially singing with my dad as he lead the seder! 

I was very familiar with the entire story of the Exodus, Moses, Pharaoh and the 10 plagues, but the idea of “slavery” of the Israelites was kind of lost on a young child from South Orange, New Jersey in the 50’s and 60’s. Later study provided me with more facts, archaeological, historical, etc.

Over the last few decades, new evidence about the Exodus has emerged in the form of Egyptian scrolls and architectural discoveries that talk about a Semitic Expulsion by the native Egyptians, who were a North African people. Invading Semitic groups conquered Egypt and ruled for over 200 years and were driven out. In the Torah story, it says that a “mixed multitude” went out. As my professor from Rutgers stated: “All Israelites were Hebrews (Semites, speaking a Semitic language), but not all Hebrews were Israelites.” 

Either way, Passover is called the Holiday of Freedom among other names. Standing at Mt. Sinai 50 days later, tradition says the Torah or Instruction was given -- a Guideline for Human Behavior and Values to create a Society -- Tzeddek, Mishpat and Hesed (Righteousness, Justice and Lovingkindness).

● Yes, we are our brother's and sister’s keepers (guardians)!

● Yes, we are the shepherds and managers of life on this planet!

The Israelites escaped forced labor, no right to choose, no chance to be different or go against authority, no opportunity to be free to develop their uniqueness as a nation.

We Are Still Slaves!!! The New Slavery serves Empty Valueless Constant Consumption in pursuit of Personal Pleasure disguised and marketed to us as Happiness. This New Slavery connects the entire world together in seconds, but divides us into individuals seeking their individual rights rather than acting together as a community for the Common Good. The New Slavery uses 21st Century Brain Science to Hack our brains, mines us for information for manipulation of adults and our Children to be good little consumers, Slaves to Corporations, Politicians and Authoritarian Religious Beliefs and Vacuous Trends! They are our New Pharaohs and our New Plagues!

For this reason, Jim and I have been working together in our 25 year journey, establishing the TOV Center and providing the information and defenses against this assault on our humanity and society, our need for one another, to guide more people in the emergence of Our Power as a Community -- the power of We The People, with Common Values who Demand Transparency from our institutions, Political, Religious and Corporate.

Another professor of mine from Rabbinical School once said; “Freedom, without the Discipline of Torah, is Chaos.” Let us work this coming year to throw off the bonds of the New Slavery of Mental Manipulation and the feds addictions of Self-Gratification. Let us leave our safe comfortable Egypts and stand together to create a world where Righteousness, Justice and Kindness abounds.

Shalom My Friends,
Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor