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You will be able to view our Succos function by pressing the Live Now button on our English home page at http://dvar.org.il/index.php?lang=en at the time of the function.

 

 We have pleasure in inviting you to our 43rd Anniversary Dinner

 

in our Sukkah on Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

19:00   - Maariv followed by Dinner

Message of the Rosh HaYeshiva - Rav B. Horovitz

Honorary Guest: Israel's Chief Rabbi Hagaon Rav David Lau Shlit"a

Awards for their outstanding contribution to our Yeshiva will be presented to

Cantor Sidney and Mrs. Inge Selig

Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz, represented by their son Rabbi Daniel

Dinner Chairman - Dr. Mori Bank                            Musical Entertainment

21:30  Simchas Bes Hashoeva after the Dinner

 

אנו מתכבדים להזמינכם לדינר השנתי לציון 43 שנה לישיבתינו

שיתקיים בסוכת הישיבה ביום ראשון, י''ח  תשרי  תשע"ד

 19:00 מעריב  וסעודה  

דבר ראש הישיבה – הרב ברוך הורוויץ שליט''א

משא מרכזי: הרב הראשי לישראל, הרה"ג ר' דוד לאו שליט"א

תעודות הוקרה: החזן וגב' זליג וכן ד"ר ארווינג וצ'רנה מוסקוביץ

לציון עזרתם

יושב ראש הדינר – ד''ר מורי בנק                           שירת הלויים

שמחת בית השואבה   21:30


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How Can We Achieve World Peace?

How Can We Achieve World Peace?

by Rav B. Horovitz

International relations have acquired a new urgency because of the increasing destructiveness of war, the threat of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.  We have witnessed the rise of new ideologies, the decline of colonialism, and the establishment of universal organizations.  In addition, there has been increasing interdependence of nations through modern transport, communication and trade.

Inadequacies in International Relations
(a) "The basic pattern of International Relations in the twentieth century has been an aspiration for power of autonomous political units in three ways:

  • to keep one's power (status quo); 
  • to increase one's power (imperialism);
  • and to demonstrate one's power (prestige)." (Enc. Brit. S.V)

Group self-interest rules.  There is no actual sovereignty above the state, or group of states, and therefore international law is generally only respected out of self-interest.  Even where the conviction exists that reason should dictate international relations, if "Raison D'Etat" opposes, it invariably wins.  The leaders of the international system are subordinate to their role as representatives of the national self-interest.  Thus, serious abuses result from modern tyranny.

(b) Today's International Law generally operates only between states. Internal affairs of state are not subject to any universal law.  Minority groups have no authority to which they can appeal for wrongs committed.  Stateless person remain unprotected.  Wrongs done to foreign individuals are only rectified if an when their State takes up the claim.

(c) There is an absence of an absolute code of justice.  Instead, this is replaced by a relative righteousness which is often corrupted by tyrants and false environmental trends.  There is often no real freedom or equality, which is witnessed by unjust discrimination against minorities, races, classes and groups.

The Universal Noachaide Code
As stated in the Bible (Genesis 9:1-7) and Talmud, the Universal Noachide code is a guide to general ethics and also international relations which would remedy these inadequacies:

  • The recognition of a Universal, Supra-national code would replace national sovereignty.
  • The fulfillment of the Code would be undressed to be a collective responsibility.
  • The Universal Code would operate between individuals as well as between states.  Therefore it would apply equally to internal affairs, and under its rule, stateless and foreign individuals would be protected.
  • Such a world government could take the form of a World Federation, a loose bi-polar system, or a wider balance of national groups.

The seven principles of the Universal Noachaide Code are presented below, combined with an application of these principles to a world governing body.

1. The principle of justice should rule all nations.  For only by this means, can the integrity of international judicial procedure be upheld.  The arbitration of disputes should be attempted.  Nations who recognize the Universal Code are members of the world Government, and should unite to protect it.  World-wide education should be pursued.  Majority rule would be decisive.  Individual procedure would be conducted with the greatest of integrity.  Every case should be brought to trial; all evidence produced; bribery prohibited. Protection would be given to minorities, aliens and weak parties.

2. The prohibition of blasphemy demands the minimum respect for the Deity who is the prime authority over the Universal Code.  As a citizen of the world created by G-d and governed by His law, man has an obligation to respect him.

All oaths and treaties which refer to G-d's name must be strictly honored.  Examples are found in the covenant between Abraham and Abimelech (Genesis 21:22-32), which was respected by the children of Israel centuries later when they entered the land of Canaan (Joshua 15:63; II Samuel 24:10).  The covenant made between Joshua and the Givonim, a Canaanite tribe, although made under false pretenses, was yet considered to be completely binding (Joshua 9:14-20).

3. The idolatry of our day takes the form of the worship of man, power, pleasure and state, and increased corruption.  When an Absolute Authority is denied, decisions are governed by self-interest.  The right of the state to issue commands is based upon the power it possesses.  This may lead to tyranny.  Laws are based upon the projection of the state as an absolute power or the self-idolatry of the leaders.  Widespread religious education must be introduced to teach people to have respect for G-d.

4. Moral corruption is undermining civilization and international discipline.  The "New Morality" is contributing to nihilistic tendencies, thus wakening the consciousness of an Absolute Authority.  In certain cases even government leaders engage in inappropriate sexual behavior.  If national representatives lead immoral lives, how can they uphold the Universal Code as an ideal for their country?

"When immorality engulfs a land, it is the end of civilization."  (Gibbon)  "The land shall vomit them out".  (Lev. 18:28)  To prevent this from happening, self-discipline and acceptance of the basic sexual code, prohibiting adultery and homosexuality, is essential.

5. Murder is common.  In many places human life is no longer held sacred, despite increased education and affluence.  Mass-murder and genocide are traits of the 20th Century.  Because of the World Wars, the distinction between the killing of civilians and military forces has been weakened.

War is permitted only in self-defense or as a means to uphold the Universal Code if no other means is available.  No direct cruelties are allowed.  Captives must be humanely treated, and life and property must be spared.  Treaties must always be respected, and the right of neutrals recognized.  Envoys must be protected.  During war each community is regarded ethically like an individual, and war becomes a collective responsibility.

6. The Universal Code prohibits theft, which the nations of the world should discourage through the realization of the brotherhood of man from the fatherhood of G-d.

Man has to curb his predatory instinct, which is a major source of international conflict.  He should respect the rights and possessions of individual neighbors and of neighboring nations, in action, word and thought.

7. Cruelty to animals is still widespread and has a negative influence upon the human character.  Cruel sports are still not prohibited in many states.  Cruelty is depicted on films, television and in literature, which has a damaging effect on the minds of the masses.  The Universal Code demands a standard of mercy and kindness in all dealings with the animal world. Leaders in particular must be humane and merciful.

Application of the Universal Code Today
Hugo Grotius and John Selden describe the Nochaide Code as the source of the International Law which they are credited with founding.  "The Noachide Code contains no creed, no theoretic statement about the nature of G-d, belief in which is the condition of salvation.  It consists of solely of such articles of practical morality as are an essential condition of civilized life.  This is reflected in the use made of it from the tenth to the seventeenth century.  In the hands of the Purists, it became one of the main elements in the foundation of the edifice of Universal International Law."  (Leon Roth)

The United Nations Organization is striving to fulfill many of the principles of the Universal Code.  The UN could well develop into an agency for implementing the Noachide Code, and bringing it to universal acceptance, as the basis for true harmonious International Relations.

World government based on the Universal Code of G-d could be introduced and maintained by a minimum use of force.  Since the discipline and education of such a lifestyle is basically pacifist, little or no force would be required to maintain it.

What better approach for universal peace?

What is the Secret of the Bible?

What is the Secret of the Bible?

Adapted from "Light of Qabalah - The Unknown Secret of the Bible"

By Dr. Ruth Borchard

Dr. Ruth Borchard, who celebrates her 90th birthday in perfect health this February, is the author of "Light of Qabalah"; "John Stuart Mill" (biography), "Four Dialogues of Plato" (ed.); "History and Symbolism of the Rose"; "The Jewish Pilgrim's Progress" (novel); "The Introspective Listener" (music), and other novels, children's books and film scripts.

The Bible as One Unit - And as Our Task
"The Torah of the Lord is perfect..." (Ps. 19, 8).

The Bible was given to man to be studied with the help of the methods indicated by the Oral tradition.  'The study of the Torah transcends all things, being greater than honouring father and mother' (Megillah 16b).

Since Sinai, each generation has added its share of insight.  Nevertheless, the text is inexhaustible.  "Its understanding is fuller than the sea and its counsel is greater than the deep" (Ben Sira 24, 28f).

Jewish tradition asserts that the natural laws of the universe are described in the Bible.  (A. Safran, The Kabbalah, p.16).  But this forms only a small part of the whole.  For the text also refers to the supernatural worlds and their dynamics.  Beyond the quantitative natural and supernatural laws, the Bible contains the qualitative human-divine values of harmony, truth, beauty, and justice.  This is told to man in human language, for the Torah is 'the food of man's soul'; hence the Psalmist sings "Your Torah is within my heart" (Ps. 40, 9).  Man's task is to unify the lower with the upper levels of being, and the Jew in particular is taught how to fulfill his task of being a purified priest to mankind: by observing the precepts of the Bible.

In creation, man is the pointer of the scales, the index-hand of the balance.  Each of his living moments and each of his deeds produce cosmic consequences.

An insight into the perfect design occurs as a blink of the eye, and yet the joy of such insight brings most perfect happiness.  The insights of modern scientists which are pursued with such passion today are but a pale shadow of  the insights into the harmonic law of creation shown in the Bible.

The Divine Law was given to man to teach him how to consciously preserve a harmonious balance in his life, by accepting the absolute standards of the Bible for his conduct, in the use he makes of his energies and of those of nature.

"G-d is the Divine mathematician, both in His works and in His words" (Rav. B. Horovitz, Jewish Study Magazine No. 33, pp.34-50).  As G-d is perfect, so His works are perfect.  In the Bible text, each single person, thing, place, date, idea, precept, genealogy - each single fact contained in the text - is a crossing point of structures of the total design.  Each has its appointed place, meaning and function in the balance and harmony of the whole.  In each fact mentioned we can find several of the strands of the overall design, interweaving and converging on several levels.

The Torah was given so that man could cooperate with G-d in the purpose of creation, and do so with increasing understanding.

By unifying earth and heaven, matter and spirit, man cooperates in transcending nature and natural law:  life bursting the limits of matter into spirit by transmutation.  Water falls - the dew rises.  The Torah is the water of life falling into our world here - the dew is man's understanding of how and why.  "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, My speech shall flow as the dew" (Deut. 32, 2).

The primeval 'serpent force' entwines the tree-of-life (Gen. 2, 8-9; 3, 1-6).  It is inherent in creation, it causes the fall of the spirit into materialism.  But its expansive urge can be overcome, from the beginning of creation: the serpent force is not rejected - but it can be sanctified, transmuted, and sublimated.  Its force can be used for the purpose of creation.  The shadow of the body serves as fuel for the upward burning of the light.  Despite evil and death, G-d is good and His creation is good.  This certainty of the Bible fills the Jew, despite his unutterable suffering throughout history, with his indestructible optimism, his joy of life.  Yes, the world is a wedding feast!

Teshuvah - Return to Lost Absolute Values
Our present Western society has swung in reaction against the long Christian rejection of the body to the idolisation of the body, sex, and sensation.  All taboos are fast dissolving, and we are reaching the utmost in unfettered individualism, subjectivism, personal experience, taste, and style: the denial of all norms, standards, and authority.  Women and men refuse to have children:  'a car rather than a kid'.  Barrenness used to be a woman's ultimate disgrace, a curse from G-d; a man's seed was holy.  Today, degeneration rules atomised individuals.  There is a deeply pessimistic culture.

There is objective, non-arbitrary truth, beauty and harmony embodied in the Bible.  It does not need to be accepted by blind faith, but by the intense use of our rational faculties.

To many, especially amongst the young, this will come as a great relief: the happiness of knowing for certain: 'if I do this and don't do that, then I shall fulfill myself, without harming my neighbour, not interfering with nature, but doing the will of G-d'.  There are valid objective limits to all man's actions: to his science, and technology, to his social organisation and personal behaviour.  Mankind, by obeying the Noachide laws, and the Jew by accepting the blessings of the other Mitzvot - match themselves, body and soul, to the pattern of divine wisdom.  This produces a psycho-physical transmutation, purification and peace.  Step by step, hour by hour, we tip the scales towards unity and  balance - or to the opposite.  Any act in either direction sets up its own momentum: each single 'right' deed, and each mitzvah generate more of their kind.  The beginning of the way is not in thinking, but in doing - Yirah (Seeing with awe) and understanding will follow.  It is his soul, the neshamah, the central innermost divine spark in man that gives life to understanding (Job 32, 8). 

The Biblical laws for man's conduct in general, and for the Jew in particular, form a coherent whole that matches the harmonious whole of creation.  The halachah - the body of precepts for the Jew - are an exact and dynamic energy system molding the psycho-physical whole of the Jew to match the Wisdom Law.  Each individual precept, mitzvah,  fulfills its exact function.  Each interlinks a distinct area of the personality  with a distinct area in the supernatural scheme of creation.  Each mitzvah observed 'builds a man's house (or body) in the world beyond' (Zohar).  This supernal body built by a man's good deeds while he is in the flesh here is the bearer of his everlasting life in the light.  Those who fail to build this body of light are ground to matter at death, adam to adamah, man to dust (Gen. 3, 19)

The Bible is the universal law of harmony.  This law is timeless.  The Bible, rightly read, is the valid teaching for all generations, including the 21st century.  There is no single problem of today or tomorrow to which the Bible does not offer the clear answer. 

The text lays down specific rules of conduct for all man's actions: as an individual; in the family; as a social being; regarding plants, animals, and nature as a whole.  From the structural laws of the Bible there flow clear indications as to what must be observed to keep the polarities balanced on every level.

Man has the choice.  He is fallible.  By accepting - if only as a working hypothesis - G-d as the creator of a harmonious order, he has an absolute standard to give him a firm hold.  We fall, we err, but at any moment we can make reparation and return to sanity.

The basic question is this:  Is man the lord of this world, to use it for his own ends, to set his own standards - or is it G-d?  Is man master of his fate and of this wilderness, our universe?  Or is he the servant, to  'keep and tend' the Master's perfect garden?  (Gen. 2, 15)

If we deny the possibility of a G-d-given order, we lose ourselves beyond return, choosing death and dissolution, instead of being 'inscribed in the Book of Life'.  The creation of  our material universe was called into being for the sake of man, for G-d to love and be loved.
Man can regain his innocence, even in our modern Western society, not by the denial of his intelligence, but by its most intensive, sensitive, and subtle use. 

The over-riding aim of all study must be the re-establishment of the original perfect scheme of creation: then man is consciously cooperating with G-d in the establishment of the Kingdom of G-d on Earth. 

Man is the only being in creation given power to upset the original order.  But its inherent balance unceasingly strives to redress itself.  The organism always tends towards health.  Nature always tends to a balanced circulation through all its planes.  Most people want to live in peace:  all man must do is to stop interfering for his own short-term ends - and peace will follow.

The key to understanding the Bible is knowledge of the wisdom pattern.  With this key in our possession, the vast volume of Hebrew tradition and its enigma become understandable and even illuminates the text of the Bible for us.  The search of the ancient teaching, the stories and commentaries is unending.

With awe, here and there, we perceive indeed something of the finger of G-d himself, beckoning us nearer... even sometimes seeming to guide us towards another discovery in the tradition, in the Bible: another light of understanding is lit up.  (This is described in the book, "The Unknown Secret of the Bible".)   There is the distinct feeling: G-d wants me, even me - He is waiting, drawing me on.

Does He really mean us to peer over the edge of our world?  Indeed yes, so as to be nearer to Him.  We know that all we really see is but  the hem of the glory of G-d-immanent in His works: only a tiny spark of G-d Himself.

Modern western man - by his science and  technology - is increasing the area of choice, of l'arbitraire (Bergson) at ever-increasing pace.  This dynamism is inescapable. 

It is the creative force implanted by G-d in man - but cut loose from the balancing bonds of the wisdom law, it is the serpent force run riot.  The sum of all mankind's goodwill is thrown into the balance: the unwitting result is chaos, and the Bomb.

The solution lies in Teshuvah, in the return to the teachings of the Bible.

This book is a signpost for modern man - particularly  the Jew who is despairing in the world he has made for himself and for his children.  It points the beginning of the way back to lost absolute values.

A Plea
Today, there is a new generation of Jews engaged in the loving search of the holy text.  We have caught a fleeting glimpse of the avalanche of new discoveries by means of Codes and Kabbalistic Research, described in "The Unknown Secret".

There used to be a self-imposed censorship of the Kabbalists to refuse publication of their teachings.  Most of their writings exist only in manuscript.  On the other hand, there is the crying need of our times for knowledge of the protective power of the Hidden Wisdom: for understanding nature, man, and society.

There is a need for research into the principles inherent in the text: for pooling and coordinating results; for an agreed terminology; for an ongoing bibliography of publications in the field (also indicating work in progress); for a digest of new discoveries.

Rabbi Kook writes (Light of Return, p.102): "Return - Teshuvah, will give strength and power - for the building up of the nation and its perfection, for its renaissance and the strengthening of its position...  A newly born people shall arise... that possesses the magnificence of nationhood... and recognises that the decline in the state of morality hinders literary development (and art)...  In order to improve literature (and art), the artists must first purify their souls - so that there may be an uplifting to the pure heavens of the pure literature (and music)... which flows forth from the source of Israel's Wisdom".

Our plea is to accept - at least as a working hypothesis - that the Bible is built on the exact system of the dynamic, purposive Wisdom Law - and to fit every discovery into that overall scheme.

The plea of the Jew of today goes even further: let us stand up and testify to the One Torah: Thirty-five years ago, even an Orthodox Jew hardly dared assert the unity of the Torah.  History, linguistics, evolutionary thinking, and so-called 'scientific' Bible criticism had made such inroads that few would admit that they were 'fundamentalists'.  Doubt about the Bible had crept into the heart of the educated Jew.  Today we can stand upright again and point to the abundance of proof, even mathematical proof: the Torah is One.

Now let us assert also, with confidence and pride: Torah is All-comprehensive.  "Everything is hinted at in Torah" (Avoth 5, 22; Taanit 9b).

In complete faith, let us fulfill our destiny as Jews: to be priests to mankind!

WHAT IS IN A DREAM?

WHAT IS IN A DREAM?

 

Personal Prophecy

by Rav Dr. E. Blumenthal (adapted from Rav Blumenthal's book Trials and Challenges ) 

THE BIBLE contains over fifty references to dreams.  One of the earliest is Jacob's ladder: 

"And he dreamed, and, behold, a ladder stood firmly on the ground, its top reaching the heavens, and angels of G-d were ascending and descending upon it...And Jacob awoke from his dream..." (Gen 28:12)

A cause of the strife between Joseph and his brothers was his dreams: 

"'Here comes the dreamer,' say the brothers. 'Let us slay him, and then let us see what will become of his dreams!'"(Gen 32:19)

Joseph is thrown into a pit and eventually sold to traders, who bring him to Egypt.  Pharoah's dreams as interpreted by Joseph lead to Joseph's appointment as Viceroy of Egypt, and to the saving of his family from famine.

The ensuing period of slavery in Egypt and eventual Divine redemption (the Exodus) were foretold to Abraham in a dream vision:

"A deep slumber descended upon Abraham and a horror of a great darkness enveloped him.... 'your seed will be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them'...."(Gen 15:12-13). 

The revolutionary covenant between G-d, Abraham, and the people of Israel was revealed in association with this dream. 

But is a dream not the very antithesis of reality? Why, then, should we take notice of it?

dream01The realism attached to dreams in the Jewish mind is evident in the silent congregational prayer that accompanies the priestly blessing on holidays: 

"O G-d - remedy our dreams, heal them if they stand in need of healing, and correct them. And, if they are good dreams, support them and bring them to fruition". 

In the bedtime prayer, G-d is asked to spare us bad dreams. If a person experiences an upsetting nightmare, special prayers have been prescribed to set at ease the mind of the dreamer.  A further measure to correct a bad dream is a fast.  In extreme situations, such a fast is permitted on Shabbat.

Dreams and Prophecy have some connection according to the Rabbis Here is a summary of some Rabbinic statements about dreams:- 

"A man is shown in his dreams only what is suggested by his own thoughts."

Reality is not only our body, but also includes our inner life as this is revealed to us in our dreams.  The Rabbis declare that a dream is a variation of prophecy - "a sixtieth of prophecy" -

"Just as there can be no grain without straw, so can there be no dream without meaningless matter."

"Three dreams are fulfilled: one early in the morning; one that another person dreamed about you; and one that is interpreted whithin the dream itself."

There is a relationship between dreams and prophecy.  "In a dream, a vision of the night, when a deep sleep envelops men as they slumber on their beds. Then He opens the ears of men, and by disciplining them, leaves His signature - to turn man away from an action, to suppress pride in man." (Job 33:15-17)

The highest level is prophecy, when G-d makes His will known to the prophet, telling him of events to come, so that man may prepare himself, or that he may avert a calamity by altering his conduct.

"If there be a prophet among you, I the L-rd make myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream".  (Numbers 2:6) This is genuine prophecy, which ceased with the last of the Biblical Prophets.

Freud, Jung, Adler and Frankl - four giants in dream interpretation - could be told of the same dream and come up with four different interpretations - for different people. The Talmud states: 
"All dreams depend (or are to be judged) on their interpretation."
Today, we call this dream therapy.  You describe your dream to the psychotherapist, who in turn will relate to it in the manner in which you described it to him, analyzing it and perhaps prescribing a course of action - which you may adopt or reject.  In other words, the interpretation of a person's dream directs the dreamer's inner drives, as these are reflected in his dream, in the direction given to him by the interpreter or therapist.

"An uninterpreted dream is like an unread letter."
This personalized dream interpretation can have a dramatic impact on the dreamer. 

In conclusion both the interpreter/therapist and the dreamer can play a meaningful role in translating the dream vision into positive and constructive realization.

Alienation & Exodus

Alienation & Exodus

by Harry Marcell

Three things our Father Abraham was told would befall his children. 
On that night of terror and thick darkness,
Of the fiery torch and smoking furnace, he was told.
“How shall I know that I shall inherit it?” he asked.
“You shall know, you shall know,” came the answer, reverberating
through the darkened world. “Because your seed shall be aliens
in an alien land, enslaved, tortured…for four hundred years.”
Alienation…enslavement…suffering…gerut, avdut, innui….
Is there a way out? Do Pesach, matzah, maror hold the key?

ALIENATION…
Four thousand years pass. Exiles, dispersions come and go…
Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Rome, Spain, Germany…
The fiery torch, the smoking furnace…Russia…America…Israel…
Aliens in an alien land…The alienated Jew. The non-Jewish Jew.
Alienated from his people, from his past, from his future. Alienated from his culture.
A culture of non-Jewish Jews.
Try a kibbutz. Is picking cotton Jewish? Is it Jewish cotton? Is it Jewish land?
I don’t know. Maybe the Arabs were here longer. Are we racists? Who knows?
IS it that a lot of Jews live here together? There are places aplenty 
Outside Israel where this holds true. Does that make it Jewish land?
Try the city. Dizengoff. Steak-bar. Bright lights. Drugstore. Drug pusher.
Protection racket. Gang war. Sex store.
You like, mister? Just like America, no?
Just like America. Almost just like America.
Then what the hell kind of fool am I to come here for?
For a bad imitation when I can get the real thing at home? If I want it.
But do I want it?
Who am I?
Where do I belong?
Here we go again…Alienation…An alien in an alien land.
Oh please please whoever you are please show me a home…

ENSLAVEMENT
Enslavement.
A slave of the technological society.
Technosoc.
Capitalist, Marxist, what’s the difference?
What am I? They tell me I’m animal. The top of the evolutionary tree.
Or an over-developed, top-heavy, evolutionary misfit.
Who knows?
But that’s all a lot of junk. I’m much much less than an animal.
Computerised, automised, atomised, numeralised, mechanised.
I’m a cybernetic servo mechanism. A feedback device. Devised by
Whom? For what? Feed and feedback. Feedback and feed. Stimulus 
and response. Rats in the maze. Rats in the rat-race. Conditioning.
Manipulation. Subliminal advertising. Consumer-response-mechanism.
Programmed enslaved. Trapped in the consumption/production syndrome.
Things. Things. Gadgets. Circuitry. Drowned in things. Swamped by things. Things
Are the measure of all man. No time of my own. No space of my own. No my own.
A slave owns nothing. Not even himself. Above all not himself.
O God, tell me where is my self?

SUFFERING
Torture. Pain in the midst of
Pleasure. Misery in the midst of
Affluence. The worm of the heart. The cancer in the bone. Worthlessness.
SO what’s the use? What’s it all for anyway?
The nagging hurt. The nothingness at the heart of existence. Nothing hurts
Like nothing. We go through the motions of pleasure but…Nothing
Means anything anymore. This is the worst wound of all.
So why not get it over with? How long O Lord how long?

THE ALIEN COMES HOME
Alien Jew, you wanted a home? You have a home. Its name is Pesach. Pesach is a holiday. It is also a family. It belongs together.
Its symbol is a lamb. A lamb belongs to a flock. It knows where it belongs.
It knows its shepherd.
Pesach is a seder table. The food, the wine, the symbols. The bright-eyed, eager children.
The white-clad father, the quiet and gracious mother. The people’s first altar, in alien Egypt, was the inside of a home. The door-post and the lintel, brushed by the angel’s wings.
Pesach means the Jewish people are a family.
A family means a shared experience, a sense of continuity, a protecting presence. 
Or is it a protecting Presence?
Who knows? All I know is that here is where I feel at home.
Maybe Jung was right about racial consciousness. Or maybe it’s the Jewish soul
The Hasidim love to talk about. I don’t know. And I don’t care very much. All I know is I’ve come home.
Pesach. The family feels the Presence, acknowledges the Presence. The familoy
Sacrifice, the family’s act of service. The family’s bond.
Home means whatever you may have done there is always an open door. Home is where
You are accepted as one of the family. Home is where you belong. Where you are no longer an alien. This is your country, this is your home. This is where you were heading for all the time.
Without knowing it.
Pesach is home.

THE TASTE OF FREEDOM
Listen, slave. There is a haven of freedom. Its symbol is matzah.
Matzah? What is this brittle bread with the flavor all its own? Brown and white,
crisp and hard, serrated rows of pinhead holes…What is this matzah?
Matzah is the taste of freedom. Bread of speed, bread of haste, bread of yeastless dough. Flour and water. Nothing else. Simple. Uncomplicated. Needs no outside help.
No time for floating yeast spore to ferment, aerate.
Simple. Independent. Finding its strength within itself.
Inner strength. This is freedom.
Slave of technosociety, the taste of matzah is freedom. Be in the technoworld, but not of it.
Don’t let its yeast spores enter your heart. The pesach family eats matzah bread, declaring its independence of the powerful, pitiful pride-puffed, puny yeast culture of the technocrats.
Defiant as always.
Rebels against the crowd.
Four thousand years of rebellion.
Matzah sounds the doom of slavery. It heralds the victory of inner freedom.

BITTERSWEET BATTLE FOR THE SELF
Maror. The herbs of bitterness. But is lettuce really bitter? They say it’s bitter to start with but improves with age. Is horseradish really bitter? Sharp perhaps; shockingly sharp; but bitter? With the matzah of freedom comes the bittersweet battle for the re-found self.
Remember the empty misery of the unfound, despaired-of self? Forget it! We have found ourself.
Pesach gives us our home. Matzah our freedom. Maror the growing-pains of the new-found self. The bittersweet battle. The muscle-stretch of spiritual growth.
Exchange the foul, poisonous bitterness of life without meaning for the refreshing bitter tang of the challenge of self-renewal. Maror says: Don’t think it’s easy.
Realising self needs effort. And effort is pain. But not like that other pain, the misery of nothingness. 
This pain is a welcome pain; the pain of all new growth.
“Whoever has not said these three things on the Passover night has not filled the commandment. What three things? Pesach, matzah and maror.