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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

The Danger of Freedom

By Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo




One of the greatest lessons that Judaism has taught the world


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Freedom can be a very dangerous commodity.

When reading the story of the Exodus from Egypt, we are confronted with a strange phenomenon: the mashchis (destroyer). After the Jews were told to mark their doorposts with the blood of the korban pesach (paschal lamb), they were informed that G0D would pass over their doors "and He will not allow the destroyer (ha-mashchit) to enter your homes and attack you" (1). Later, at midnight, Moses would call them to leave their homes after they had had a family meal, and they would subsequently leave Egypt. Commentators struggle with the term "the destroyer." Who or what was this? G0D? A plague? Some other power?

One of the most remarkable explanations is that the destroyer was freedom itself. Often in history, national liberations were followed by long periods of chaos and violence. Many bloody and ruthless insurrections erupted by slaves eager to settle a score with their cruel masters. The brutish drive for vengeance, for gratification of the satanic impulses within man, was often irresistible. At the time of the French revolution, many of those who were liberated initiated mass killings. The same is true of the upheavals after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Victims of harsh slavery tend to throw off the shackles of moral behavior and become criminals themselves, taking their revenge on innocent bystanders. The turmoil that often follows the experience of sudden freedom is too much for people to handle.


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When we look at the story of the Exodus, we are struck by the fact that an upheaval of revenge was completely absent. No Egyptian babies were snatched from the embrace of their mothers and thrown into the Nile, as had been done to the Jewish male babies just a short time before. Not one Jew beat up his taskmaster who mercilessly tortured him only a few days earlier. There was not one Egyptian hurt; nor was there an Egyptian house destroyed or vandalized.

At that crucial hour, when the Jews had the motivation, opportunity and ability to take revenge for 210 years of exceedingly cruel treatment, they chose to be restrained and quiet. Instead of rioting in the streets of Goshen, they remained in their homes, ate a festive meal—which included the korban pesach—sang praises to G0D, and waited until they were told to leave. Would anyone have blamed them for beating up a few taskmasters who had thrown their babies in the Nile? Yet, not one Jew raised a hand against his enemy. Once it was certain that they would be free at any moment, and that there was no longer a need to defend themselves, revenge would be meaningless.

This is one of the greatest lessons that Judaism has taught the world. Freedom should be experienced in a prudent manner, far removed from chaos, bloodshed and revenge.

Freedom can be very dangerous if one does not think it through, control it, and apply it carefully. It is therefore quite understandable that Pesach—which celebrates freedom, powerfully symbolized through the Seder rituals—has a large number of restrictions, to the extent that even a crumb of bread is forbidden. In our chaotic world, this is a most important lesson.

Today, when so much freedom has been given to man, most people do not know what they are free from. We have confused the free with the free and easy. "He only earns his freedom and existence," says Goethe, "who daily conquers them anew" (2).

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1. Exodus, 12:23. 2. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, Act V, scene 6.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo is a world-renowned lecturer and ambassador for Judaism, the Jewish people, the State of Israel and Sephardic Heritage.

© 2013, Rabbi Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo

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