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I was a slave in Egypt

יציאת מצרים

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

In the course of Pesach cleaning, I came across a notebook that included part of a speech delivered 25 years ago to the German parliament by Ezer Weizman, former Minister of Defense and President of Israel. It seems to me that the following words can give us strength regarding the present security situation and are also appropriate for Seder night:

"Every Jew, in every generation, is obligated to see himself as if he was in Egypt, and also as if he was in the places and took part in the events of all prior generations. Two hundred generations have passed in the history of my people yet they appear, in my eyes, as several days.

"Only two hundred generations have passed since a man arose whose name was Avraham. He left his land and his birth place and went to a land that today is mine. Only two hundred generations passed between Avraham's purchase of the Machpelah Cave in the city of Hebron and the murderous attacks against Jews in my own generation in that same city. From the Pillar of Fire in the Exodus from Egypt to the pillars of smoke in the Holocaust... I, born from the seed of Avraham in the land of Avraham, was part of it all.

"I was a slave in Egypt. I received the Torah at Mount Sinai. Together with Yehoshua, I crossed the Jordan River. I entered Jerusalem with David, was exiled from it with Zedekiah, and did not forget it by the rivers of Babylon. When the Lord returned the exiles of Zion, I dreamed among those who rebuilt its ramparts. I fought the Romans and was banished from Spain. I was bound to the stake in Mainz. I studied Torah in Yemen and lost my family in Kishinev. I was incinerated in Treblinka, rebelled in Warsaw, and immigrated to the Land of Israel, the country from which I had been exiled and where I had been born, from which I come and to which I return.

"Just as it is demanded of us, by the power of memory, to live through each day and each experience of our past, so too it is demanded of us, by the power of hope, to look expectantly toward each day of our future."


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