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Are You a Free Person?

How would you know that you are a free person? Today is the 26th Yahrzeit of Rabbi Dr. Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, one of the people who shaped American Jewry, one of the greatest thinkers of our generation. He dealt a lot with the loneliness of the individual, with the uniqueness of those who keep Halacha in modern times, and he wrote that the beginning of the Pesach Haggadah shows us the way towards freedom and redemption. Indeed, we open that great night with the following statement: "כל דכפין ייתי ויאכל" ("Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat"). Why does our declaration of freedom begin this way?
This is what Rabbi Soloveitchik writes:

"The main pillar of freedom is the sharing with another. The slave thinks only of himself, whereas a free person thinks of others and shares with others. Leil HaSeder symbolizes the birth of the Chesed community. This is a community in which the slaves, who had just now got released from slavery, broke their isolation and their insane focus on themselves, and joined the Chesed community".

A free man is someone who is able to get out of his own skin and look at someone else's needs. It does not have to be manifested in exalted, sublime things. It can also be manifested with washing the dishes or helping to clear the table after yet another holiday meal.


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