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Thursday, April 10, 2003

We Were Slaves to Pharoah in Egypt

I don't usually watch TV, but I was fortunate enough to see the toppling of the statue of Saddam on a client's conference room TV. When I saw them dragging the head through the street, my immediate thoughts were, "I wonder how much Saddam's head would fetch on Ebay?". I need to spend less time on the Internet.

Later in the day I bought my children a new illustrated Passover Hagaddah. As we were leafing through it, we came upon a drawing of a statue of Pharoah broken on the ground with it's head detached. The parallels were quite striking.

According to the classical writings in Judaism, it is not clear whether Pharoah was actually killed at the Red Sea. Some sources say he was killed and others say he escaped and became the King of Nineveh, from the Book of Jonah, and restored his relationship with G-d. And here we are in our time, where it is very possible that we will never have conclusive evidence of the deaths of Hitler, Osama and Saddam.

Diane predicted that the war would start on Purim on March 18th and end right before Passover on April 16th. I don't know if Operation Iraqi Freedom will have an official end date, but Diane definitely deserves a prize. I am glad that she has decided to continue blogging, despite having blown her cover.

In the Haggadah, we show our appreciation to G-d for freeing us from both Pharaoh and Egypt. The commentaries are struck by the apparent redundacy and explain that it refers to being freed from both the individual tyrant and the cultural bondage.

In America and most of the Western World, we are not oppressed by a tyrant, but we face varying degrees of cultural bondage. The battle against cultural influences is an internal one where the victories are usually private. One of the greatest cultural fights we face is that of arrogance. On blogs and in politics it is manifested by the need to always be right. We can gain a lot of personal freedom by realizing that it ok to be wrong, its ok to make mistakes, its ok to change our opinions, it ok to learn. Spring is a time of freedom, why not grant some to ourselves.