“Passover is called the festival of freedom. Patriots have never been more concerned about the preservation of our freedoms. But the Passover story reminds us that freedom isn’t free.”
You think you know the story. Perhaps. But, after more than 70 years, I barely know it myself.
There’s the Cecil B. DeMille version: Yul Brenner is oppressing the Jews in Egypt—conscripting them for construction projects along the Nile. With the help of frogs and locusts, Charlton Heston leads them out of slavery into technicolor freedom.
Seriously, the Passover seder is the world’s oldest continuously celebrated ritual. There are the candles and wine, the matzah and bitter herbs. (“And they embittered their lives with servitude.”) There’s the Haggadah with the four questions: “Why is this night different from all other nights?”
The celebration lasts for eight days, during which we abstain from certain foods. The theme is remembrance: Remember what God did for you when He took you out of Egypt. Each Jew must feel that he was personally redeemed. Telling the Passover story is a commandment. The Haggadah says, “The more one tells about the Exodus, the more he is praiseworthy.”
Passover is just the beginning of the story. The end is nowhere in sight.
By Don Feder