I was recently asked to write a column for The Jewish Press about Passover and what comes to mind when I hear the word “freedom.” I am pleased to share it with local readers as well.
I see freedom, especially in association with the holiday of Passover, as the ability to practice and share our faith with others. That’s what we celebrated the first time, when the Jewish nation was freed from Egypt, and that’s what we celebrate today.
Someone once approached the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory, and offered to make a fairly large donation towards a project of the Rebbe’s choosing. This was several weeks before Passover, so the Rebbe suggested that he support the endeavor to deliver handmade shmurah matzah to as many people as possible.
When the person heard this, he thought the Rebbe misunderstood his offer. So he said, “Rebbe, I want to donate to a BIG project” (i.e. a new building or something similar). To which the Rebbe responded, “To me, for every Jew to have shmurah matzah on Passover IS a big project.”
It is a big project because that’s what Judaism is all about. It’s not about large buildings and endowment funds; it’s about the small details, which we often tend to overlook, but without which there can never be a big picture.
Being able to look beyond our own understanding of what is important, and reach out to others—that, my friends, is the most liberating thing about Judaism.