CAN WE TAKE THE EXILE OUT OF THE JEW?
Take a moment this weekend and ask yourself the following question: Am I truly free?
Am I living a life in which I truly believe?
Am I doing what I really want to do?
Am I spending my time with people I really like?
Am I spending my money on things that are genuinely valuable?
In other words: Am I in control of my life, or is my life being dictated by subtle powerful forces that surround me?
In this week’s Torah narrative we find G-d in discussion with Moses trying to convince him to be his messenger in liberating the Jewish people from their cruel enslavement in the land of Egypt.
Moses resists the honour. He has too many questions. Who am I? Are they worthy of redemption? Do they know you? Will they believe me? On and on he goes, for seven days.
But at the core of his argument with G-d, Moses has one primary concern. Do the Jewish people even know what it means to be free? After so many years of enduring such harsh and persistent degradation and persecution have they not lost their Jewish dignity. Will the slave ever want to leave its master?
Yes says Moses to G-d, I know the Jewish people know and believe in you. My question is, do they know and believe in themselves. Do they know what it means to be free? To make one’s own choices in life? Are they able to stand up on their own and chart their unique course in history? Are they able to think and behave like free human beings?
As Ben Gurion put it “You can take the Jew out of Exile but can you take the Exile out of the Jew?”
This is the ultimate challenge that has faced our people since the beginning of time. It was true then. It is true even more so today.
But G-d’s ultimate answer to Moses was and is, yes you can.
Yes the Jewish people have never lost their faith. Not in G-d and not in themselves. Deep down we know who we are and from where we come. We know our history. And we know our pivotal role in the unfolding of that great story.
Today there is only one thing left for us to do. And that is, to act upon this timeless conviction both as individuals and as a people.
Let us not be afraid to be free again. For only when the Jewish people will be free will the whole world be truly liberated.