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Viva la Revolución!

Wednesday, 10 April, 2019 - 4:25 pm

 rev·o·lu·tion

/ˌrevəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/

noun

1.     1.

a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system.

synonyms:

rebellion, revolt, insurrection, mutiny, uprising, riot, rioting, rising, insurgence, insurgency, coup, overthrow, seizure of power, regime change; More

 

Western Europe of the late 18th century swooned with romantic ideas of identity, independence, and freedom. The philosophical spirit of the times empowered the crushed among the lower ranks of society to advocate for justice and the equality of all members of the society. Servility and slavery were considered the evils of antiquated social and economic systems.

Revolution followed shortly thereafter. The American Revolution, leading to the French Revolution, leading to further revolutions of 1848.

These are some of the ideas that I heard discussed as I walked the halls during the secular studies.

The common feature of all these transitions is that they were awfully violent events. As the struggle for freedom became dire, those in power became desperate. They turned their muzzles on the finest of their own citizenry, sowing death and mayhem. This is revolution indeed. Lasting change was made, but the cost of freedom was paid.

As we read Parshas Hachodesh this week we prepare to celebrate and relive the revolution of our people. The Jewish revolution is a change of a fundamentally different order.

Our ancestors, a landless people without effective leadership, were trapped into forced labor, serving at the mercy of the Egyptians masters. No thinker of the time could ever imagine it remotely possible that this slave nation would win immortality and transform their work into a dwelling place for Hashem.

Liberating people from oppression is, and was, a spiritual goal of great importance. But when the Jews escaped their masters, their liberation was not yet complete. Owning their own lives and the products of their labor was not yet freedom for our people. 

Our ancestors were told that their freedom independence would be different and they wished for more. The Torah explains that the generation of the Exodus did not experience a mere freedom “from” bondage as many other nations have experienced throughout history. Instead, those leaving Egypt would experience a different kind of freedom: a freedom “to.”

The real freedom Hashem grants us at Sinai is the ability for our actions to matter. Not just matter to someone, but to matter to The One! Our freedom was a release from the depths of futility and irrelevance. A freedom to fulfill the destiny of the chosen people to bring goodness and inspiration to the world.

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