Wednesday, April 01, 2015

God's Pesach Message to Orthodox Jewry

A guest post by @orthodiction

FROM THE DESK OF: The Almighty, Blessed be Me

Dear Jews:

Like roughly 93% of matzos three seconds after being packaged, Pesach is broken. And you broke it.

When I arranged for you to spend 210 years as slaves in Egypt, I wasn’t thinking, “Hey, I wonder if someone will really pay $11 for a box of potato cookies,” or “Maybe a guy should supervise the wheat 24/7 from the moment it is planted, looking away only briefly while it asexually reproduces.”

It was more like “If you’re going to be responsible for promoting justice on earth, you should probably have an appreciation of what injustice feels like, because, you know, experiential learning and all that.” Spoiler Alert, but if you read my novel, you’ll find that I intone “For you too were once strangers…” a lot more than I remind you to check for that third kosher sign on toilet bowl cleaner.

But somehow, you only seem to be able to relate to me through legalisms and loopholes, deciding when to build electrified fences around my commandments and when to dig tunnels. Is it cute to watch you legislate which materials can be Kashered and precisely how much nuclear fusion is required to Kasher each one? Sure. Do I smile a bit when Rabbis who never saw an olive spend multiple generations arguing about the size of one and somehow come up with something equal to two thirds of a matzo? I guess. But that’s not the point.

The point is very simple. Every spring, I want you to reflect on what it is like to be without freedom, and then I want you to do two things.

  1.  Think about what you can do to bring freedom to those that are lacking it. This can take many forms, and I am not picky. Donate, protest, click “Submit” on an online petition, or share a kind word with someone in a difficult situation. Not to get all metaphorical with you (enough of that in Genesis—am I right?), but there is bondage of all sorts in the world (no 50 Shades jokes, no 50 Shades jokes), of the physical, emotional, and even First World Problem variety. The more you can get rid of, the better. If someone hassles you about why you are only focusing on X when Y is clearly a much bigger issue, tell them they forgot to blowtorch their teeth for Pesach.
  2.  Think about how you are spending your own freedom. As bad as bondage is, it is a legitimate excuse for not getting things done. When you’re spending all day building pyramids (or, alternatively, seducing your mud-encrusted husbands in the fields, which is probably more difficult), no one can blame you for not answering the tent door when the Amnesty International guy shows up with a binder and a naive smile. But once you’re free, and your biggest crisis is the barista misspelling your name (it’s a Y, not a J, for the thousandth time), there is really no reason that you shouldn’t be doing something productive. Freedom is capital, and you need to account for it—to me, if that helps you focus, but ultimately to yourself. It’s not about Me’Avdut Le’Cherut, it’s about Me’Cherut Le’Something Meaningful.

So there you have it. After you’re done enslaving yourselves in grocery store lineup and under couches and squinting at lists of Rabbinically certified deodorant, take a minute (a minute and a half according to the Chazon Ish) to think about why I went through the whole Egypt routine in the first place. It certainly wasn’t so that we could see Christian Bale as Moses (two outstretched thumbs down!).

Read God's Sukkos Message to Orthodox Jewry

Search for more information about ###

No comments: