A Passover Message from Rabbi Ari Kaiman

A Passover Message from Rabbi Ari Kaiman

For our Passover holiday issue, we invited members of our community to share their responses.

Rabbi Ari Kaiman
Rabbi Ari Kaiman

Moses never said simply, “Let my people go!” Moses was speaking for God who said, “Let My people go to celebrate Me in the wilderness,” or “Let My people go to serve Me.” We don’t leave our struggles behind in the Passover story. We substitute the meaninglessness of slavery for the insecurity of the wilderness and the promise of a meaningful servitude.

In this world, we don’t seek a release from struggle, we seek redemption through the struggle to live in meaningful service to the One who unites us all.

The insight of the Passover story is that our oppression prepared us for universal empathy with those who are oppressed. The Haggadah teaches that in every generation arises a force to wipe us out. What is it that we are protecting if not to live in meaningful service to the vision of the world that God hopes we are a part of creating?

Right now in our generation there are forces that seek to wipe us out. Hamas and Iran’s proxies seek to wipe us out by force. Others seek to wipe us out by denying our right to defend our uniqueness.

These forces cause us to narrow our perspective to our self-interest. But we will emerge from this narrowness to the freedom to struggle and serve the interests of the whole world united by universal human dignity and Godliness.

Rabbi Kaiman is the senior Rabbi at Congregation Shearith Israel.

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