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What kind of bread did they eat?

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Happy holidays. This is the kind of story that, even if familiar, is worth reading again. In 1947, David Ben-Gurion spoke before a United Nations investigative committee that had arrived in Israel. He explained our connection to this land as follows:

"Three hundred years ago, a ship called the Mayflower set sail for the New World. This was a seminal event in the history of both England and America. But I want to know if there is a single Englishman who knows on what date the ship embarked and how many Americans know this. Do they know how many people were on board and what kind of bread they ate as they departed? And yet, 3,000 years before the Mayflower, the Jews left Egypt and every Jew in the world, including those in America and the Soviet Union, know the date they left was the 15th of Nissan. And everyone knows exactly what kind of bread the Jews ate: matzos. And until today, Jews throughout the world eat these same matzos on the 15th of Nissan - in America, in Russia, and in a multitude of other countries. And they tell the story of the painful experience of Jews when they went into Egyptian exile and of their redemption when they finally left. And they finish the story with this exhortation: this year we are slaves, next year we will be free. This year we are here, next year in Jerusalem, in Zion, in the Land of Israel. Such an innate longing is part of the nature of every Jew."


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