Bernie Sanders says that he’s Jewish, but not religious, and that he doesn’t know where his commitment to social justice comes from. I think of that when I think of Passover, our celebration of freedom — we were slaves but now we are free. But the key part of that sentence is “we were slaves”. We are asked to tell the Passover story as if we, ourselves, were the Israelites enslaved in Mitzrayim (the Hebrew word for Egypt, which is derived from “narrow place”). I prefer using the Hebrew because Egypt is not the only place were there was, and is today, slavery. We can think of many political situations where people are enslaved — Sudan, Congo, those living under ISIS, or other totalitarian regimes; as well as the young women and girls abducted into the sex trade. In our own towns and cities there are those who are homeless because of the banking system, or, because of the economy, have lost their jobs and are living on the very edge of losing everything.
We can use this holiday as Bernie Sanders has done: to see the places where there needs to be change; to challenge ourselves: What can we ourselves do to bring healing to this world? In what large or small way can I, myself, contribute to tikkun olam — to restoring the earth to wholeness and peace?
May we use these Passover days to commit ourselves to working for freedom.