A Passover Message
April 2, 1996
In a few hours I will, with the help of G-d, enact an
ancient Jewish ritual, performed the evening
before Pesach. After sunset and evening prayers we go
home and do a `bedikat hametz' - in other words, we do a
thorough search of our homes, making absolutely certain
that they are totally `hametz-free.' Hametz is the
leavening which causes bread or cake to rise - yeast.
Over the seven days of Pesach the main prohibition is
against eating any leavened product - for this reason we
only eat Matzot - unleavened bread. It is made only of
flour and water - it contains nothing else. The first
act done, celebrating the beginning of Pesach is the
`bedikat hametz' and then, in the morning, the burning of
the remaining hametz.
There are many interpretations of `bedikat hametz.'
One of the most famous explains that the search for
hametz and it's later burning represents humility.
People are easily `puffed up' - proud and vain. The day
before the celebration of our national `birthday,' the re-
enacting of our liberation from slavery in Egypt and the
birth of the Israeli nation, we reinstill in ourselves, -
trying to remind ourselves, so to speak, that we are
entirely in the hands of G-d, all we have has been
granted to us, not necessarily because we deserve it, but
because of His goodness and kindness. We search
ourselves for leavening, for the substances within us
that leave us haughty and conceited and burn them, in a
very moving and humbling experience.
One of the most important lessons that I have
learned over the years is that almost any significant
precept pertaining to an individual also pertains to what
we call in Hebrew, the `Klal' - or the overall Jewish
People, not as individuals, but as a nation, a people.
The `bedikat hametz' we do as individuals must also be
National introspection isn't easily accomplished,
especially if it is done honestly. The current period of
two months before the elections should be just this,
national introspection - an in-depth examination of who
we are, where we have been, where we are now, and where
we are going. Based on this, people can go to the polls
and make a calculated, legitimate choice, determined by
the views and policies of the candidates. However, in
order for this to be a true, honest experience, the
alternatives must be clearly presented. Unfortunately,
over here, they are not. Four years ago, the late Prime
Minister Rabin made now famous remarks, such as, `whoever
abandons the Golan Heights abandons the security of
Israel.' Labor's platform negated any discussion with
Arafat and the PLO, as well as a palestinian state.
There is no need to elaborate on the actions of the
ruling party over the last four years.
Yesterday Shimon Peres suddenly decided to announce
a national referendum on the final treaty between Israel
and Arafat. In other words, he is saying, the issue of a
final Israeli-palestinian treaty is a non-issue - a
separate vote will determine its status. Arutz 7 today
reported that Peres has been having secret discussions
with `high-level' settler leaders, offering them a deal:
he promises that no settlements in Judea, Samaria and
Gazza will be evacuated, in the final stage of the piece
agreement. To the contrary, they will be annexed. The
price: a public call by these leaders to vote for Peres
and PARTS OF EAST JERUSALEM, to be given to the Arabs!
In all truth, Likud policy statements are far from
clear. But, I cannot, in my wildest dreams, imagine that
they would consider such policies, which are liable to
wreak havoc on Israel. Such policies, as those espoused
by Peres do not represent national liberation - rather
they are prime examples self-inflicted slavery - a bowing-
down to an imaginary peace - for the sake of .....
who? Peres wants nothing more than to be remembered in
history as the GREAT PEACEMAKER. Instead, he will be
remembered as the great piecemaker. His vanity is
This year's national `bedikat hametz' has
overwhelming importance. I hope that the Israeli
people, perhaps after tonight's `bedikat hametz' and
seven-day Festival of Liberation, will make the right
Yesterday I had the honor to speak on Nahum Segal's radio
show on WFMU in New York, at 7:30 in the morning. The
last question he asked me was, "Passover is known as the
children's holiday. The evening Seder is based around
educating our children. How would you describe the
message we send to our children when we raise them in
I answered "that Hebron's children live their ideals
- they live the ideals of the Patriarchs and Matriarch,
they live the ideals of King David, who began ruling in
Hebron, they live the ideals of Kalev ben Yefuneh, who
came to pray in Hebron, they live the ideals of the
generations of the Jewish People, through the ages. They
are happy healthy children, who will pass on these ideals
to their children, as they grow up and have their own
families." I concluded by saying, "I wish upon all the
children of the world the spiritual richness of Hebron's
children." For Hebron's children, as well of the rest of
Hebron's residents are living examples of true liberation
- liberation from the bonds of slavery encompassing so
many others - Hebron's residents don't live for
themselves - they live for the people of Israel - and
there is no greater liberation than this.
To all of Hebron's faithful supporters, and to all Beit
Yisrael Chag Pesach Kasher v'Sameach!
A HAPPY PASSOVER TO ALL BEIT YISRAEL!