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The Secret of Pesach

פירמידות במצרים

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Between traffic jams and matzah crumbs, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks reminds us of the great secret of the holiday of Pesach: It's all about the children.
"Moses spoke not about freedom but about education. 'On that day tell your son, I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt' (Exodus 13:8). He fixed his vision not on the immediate but on the distant future, and not on adults but children.
So, Jews became the only people in history to predicate their very survival on education. The most sacred duty of parents was to teach their children. Pesach itself became an ongoing seminar in the handing on of memory. Judaism became the religion whose heroes were teachers and whose passion was study and the life of the mind. The Mesopotamians built ziggurats. The Egyptians built pyramids. The Greeks built the Parthenon. The Romans built the Coliseum. Jews built schools. That is why they alone, of all the civilizations of the ancient world, are still alive and strong, still continuing their ancestors’ vocation, their heritage intact and undiminished.
Moses’ insight was profound. He knew that you cannot change the world by externalities alone, by monumental architecture, or armies and empires, or the use of force and power. How many empires have come and gone while the human condition remains untransformed and unredeemed?
There is only one way to change the world, and that is by education. You have to teach children the importance of justice, righteousness, kindness and compassion. And you have to empower children to ask, challenge and argue. You have to respect them, if they are to respect the values you wish them to embrace."


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