On Wednesday evening, like so many of us, I sat at a seder table with my wife and daughter. We celebrated the miracle that all four grandparents managed to navigate Zoom and virtually join us! And we lamented the dozens of others who we have shared seder with for more years than we can count. We retold the timeless story of our struggle for freedom and it occurred to me that there are two kinds of freedom—freedom from, and freedom to—and Pesach is about both.
On the surface, Pesach celebrates freedom from. Freedom from Egyptian bondage, freedom from slavery, freedom from oppression, freedom from poverty, freedom from hunger, freedom from disaster—this is passive freedom. There is a second kind of freedom—active freedom—the freedom to. Freedom to be compassionate, freedom to reach out to another in need, freedom to feed the hungry, freedom to liberate the oppressed, freedom to bring justice to the world.
Pesach calls on us to transform our freedom from into a freedom to, and then use that freedom to help those in need. What better reminder could there be in this era of coronavirus, during which so many are in need, and will continue to be in need? After all, we are taught that we were freed for a purpose—to make the world a better place.
As the only Jewish disaster response organization in the nation, NECHAMA is exemplifying our freedom to, as we respond in new and creative ways to support those on the front lines battling this virus.
This year, of all years, rather than simply celebrating our freedom from, please join me in celebrating our freedom by supporting NECHAMA in bringing comfort and hope to those who so desperately need it.
Chag Pesach Sameach,
Rabbi Beau Shapiro