Passover: Freedom at What Price?

April 7, 2017

We’d like to have a word with you about freedom: Passover
The ancient story has never been more powerfully relevant for our deeply divided nation.

Download Part 1 of the Passover card.

Download Part 2 of the Passover card.

An unprecedented number of people in this country agree that we are in the midst of a struggle for freedom. What they don’t agree about is what that means.

That’s where Passover comes in.

Moses originally demands that the Israelites be freed to worship God (Exodus 7:16). Later he demands their freedom from slavery. Then as now, for some the struggle is fundamentally about “freedom to,” while for others it is about “freedom from.”


That knowledge can help us all, regardless of political orientation, to hold families and friends around a common Seder table and around our nation’s fast-shrinking commons. It is our path out of the Egypt-literally tight spot-in which we find ourselves, however we define it.


Let’s talk to each other, not at each other.

If you think freedom is mostly about being free from specific threats or dangers, consider the cost of that freedom. What might be at risk, or even lost, as that kind of freedom is secured?

Worth it or not, how do you correct for that loss?

If you view the struggle as about protecting fundamental freedoms-both personal and collective-consider the potential vulnerabilities created as part of that bargain.

What correctives might minimize them?

FREEDOM MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE, but however it is understood, that freedom is never free. So, as we gather around this year’s Seder table, or our office water cooler, we might stop debating which is the right definition of freedom and instead consider the cost of the definition we like best.

By Rabbi Brad Hirschfield from Clal