Sedra of the Week: Vaera
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Sedra of the Week: Vaera

This week’s Torah portion is delivered by Rabbi Boruch Boudilovsky

“Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has not made me a slave”. This blessing, recited daily, is consistent with the intense and almost obsessive Jewish commitment to freedom.

The Torah encourages the observance of Pesach, ‘the time of our freedom’, in terms unprecedented in almost all other biblical festivals.

When the process of freedom is described in this week’s Parsha in the context of God’s conversation with Moses, multiple words are used to illustrate the liberating experience: ‘I shall take you out’, ‘I shall rescue you’, ‘I shall redeem you’, ‘I shall take you to Me’, ‘I shall bring you to the land’(Exodus 6: 6 – 8).

Many of the biblical commandments are ‘in memory of the exodus from Egypt’. We are commanded to remember the Exodus every day of our lives. Indeed, the Torah frowns upon the Jewish slave who voluntarily enters slavery beyond the minimal term.

I believe that Judaism’s concentrated efforts in developing our awareness of freedom, reminds us that contrary to what we would imagine, freedom can easily be lost.

Even when we are fortunate to live in free societies, a luxury which much of the human population still does not enjoy, our freedom is too often lost in abusive relationships, uncompromising employment conditions, addiction, poverty, mental health conditions and so on.

Judaism is aware of how vulnerable freedom really is and how it must therefore be zealously appreciated, protected, and preserved.

But it also asserts that as free people we must become worthy of our freedom. Freedom in Judaism is not only an elementary human right, it is primarily a calling. Freedom not only enables but obligates us to shape our lives with covenant, values, compassion, justice, and truth.

Daily, when we bless God for not being slaves, we are inspired to carefully conserve our freedom, as well as employ it, thereby becoming worthy of this beautiful gift.

I hope, trust, and pray that we will all be blessed with freedom and the wisdom to use it gracefully.

Rabbi Boruch Boudilovsky is rabbi of Young Israel of North Netanya

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more:
comments