Printed from

Freedom to be Free

Friday, 27 March, 2020 - 12:10 pm

“Festival of Our Freedom!” “Season of Our Liberation!” How can one experience freedom while being mandated to remain isolated at home? How can one have a liberating Passover experience while forced by Covid 19 to be separated from family and friends? How can we “rejoice on our festival” when facing the uncertainty of our global crisis?

Yet, looking at our history, we see that, whether it was a Russian Jew substituting four glasses of tea and three sugar cubes for wine and Matzah, a Jew is Auschwitz using a few scraps of potatoes and memories of home, or a Spanish Jew observing Pesach in the cellar, under the shadow of the Inquisition, all declared their state of liberation at the Seder.

Egypt is not just a place, it is also a state of mind. Indeed the enslavement in Egypt was spiritual as much as physical. The children of Israel were steeped in the Egyptian culture of idolatry and immorality. They were slaves to Egyptian society as much as to the Egyptian taskmasters. Liberation from Egypt was also freedom from the spiritual slavery.

When G-d liberated us from Egypt, He brought us to Sinai to receive the Torah, thereby imbuing us with an intrinsic sense of freedom stemming from our relationship with Him. From that moment onward, the Jewish people cannot be subject to true enslavement by another nation or circumstance. Our bodies can be sent into exile, but the soul can never be subjugated. As such, no matter what type of persecution or challenge we face, the freedom that dwells within the soul of the Jew cannot be taken away. It is this inherent freedom that is celebrated on Pesach irrespective of current external circumstances.

Feel free to be free this year. Feel free to be joyous. Feel free to not only observe Pesach, but to celebrate Pesach. It may be challenging, but we have what it takes. You might need to lean on me when you are feeling low, while I lean on you when I am feeling low. We need to be there for each other and have our finger on the pulse of those who are most vulnerable to feeling lonely and despondent during this time. Call, text, video chat (not on Shabbos or holidays, of course) and connect with other people that cannot see in person now.

Pesach requires preparation! I am sure you are all already deep into Pesach prep. Remember Kosher Cajun has what you need for the Passover Seder items, wine, catering. Go to or email to make an order. They can deliver or you can pick up. Casablanca can also help with you Passover catering this year. Contact Andy at Utilize the opportunities to make your Pesach prep easier and support our Kosher establishments.

Next week Chabad of Louisiana will be delivering hundreds of packs of Shmura Matzah to homes in our area. If you live in Orleans or Jefferson and would like to receive a box, please email me at Our deliveries will follow the proper guidelines and precautions that our current situation dictates. If you would like to volunteer to deliver, please email me as well. If you would like to help underwrite this project allowing over 300 families to receive Matzah, please go to or PayPal

Together we will get through this.

Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos.
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Comments on: Freedom to be Free
There are no comments.