Rabbi Yaacov Haber's
for the Week
Thank G-d we are free! Freedom is
something we strive for and we
treasure. Historically, in this country we have given our lives for
freedom. At the same time freedom is a little scary. You can't tell
much about a person who is oppressed and restrained. A slave does what
he is told. It is only when we go free and have the luxury of doing what
we want, when we want that true person, the real neshama
comes out for
everyone to see.
Freedom comes in two ways. There is the freedom that most of us, not all
of us, were born with. In the United States we effervesce in a lifestyle
which allows for self-expression, gradual development and growth. But
when freedom follows slavery, oppression and restraint an explosion
takes place. A lifetime of pent up personality, internal pressure
bubbling in a confined space, will cause a sudden burst of one's inner
self. Everything that was on the inside will suddenly come out. If the
slave was full of negativity and hatred negativity will explode. If the
slave is full of chesed
and love - out will come love.
The Matzo is the symbol of this oppression. Matzo is bread that was not
allowed to rise. We hold up our Matzo at the Seder and say "Ho lachma
anya; this is the bread of affliction" the bread that was always beaten
and knocked down, the bread that finally is allowed to come into its
We see our history and ourselves in that Matzo. We were slaves in Egypt
for close to two centuries. We were confined, restricted and oppressed.
Then we went free. What happened when we went free? What were our true
colors? How did we react?
We said, "Kol dichphin yaysay vyaychol; Let anyone who is hungry come
and eat." We exploded with love. Chesed became the defining element of
the Jewish Neshama.
If we act like Jews, Hashem will treat us as Jews and will end all our
tzoros, give us complete freedom, b'arah d'yisroel, together in
Rabbi Yaacov Haber
Rabbi Haber is the OU's National Director of Jewish Education and
the spiritual leader of the OU's Pardes Program
questions are very welcome
"A tree of life for those who embrace it"
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