From a people to a nation we relive the long journey to freedom
By Justin Amler
The greatest story in history is upon once again.
And oh… what a story it is.
It is a story about a people who went from slavery to freedom, from hopelessness to belief, from an uncertain future to one filled with destiny.
It is a story about courage, about faith, about belief and about miracles – one that took the natural order of life and flipped it around.
And even though many others will try to culturally appropriate it, as they do with everything else about us, and claim it’s about all humankind, it was and is and remains a quintessential Jewish story.
For it is our story – perhaps our greatest story – of a time when we grew from a people into a nation.
About 3500 years ago, we were slaves in Egypt, condemned to a life of hardship and bondage, a seemingly bleak existence. And if it wasn’t for the actions of one man, guided by God, the story of the Jewish people might have ended right there.
But it didn’t end.
Instead, it led to the greatest adventure in all of Jewish history – an adventure continuing today.
And through all the wanderings in the desert, the many miracles Hashem performed, the gift of the Ten Commandments, and of course the ultimate return to our land of Israel – where we remain today.
Pesach is a story of such inspiration, because although thousands of years have passed, we continue to celebrate it as if it just happened.
And in a way it did. Because every single moment of every single day, Jews continue to fight for their homeland, their identity, their culture, and their history. And we have to fight, because every single moment of every single day there are those who continue to try take it from us, to uproot us from our land, to appropriate our history as if it’s their own, to rob us of our past, of our stories, of our nationhood and of our identity.
We cannot afford to remain silent.
But the Jews, while few in number, are a strong people whose foundations are built on stronger things than crumbling empires and dusty buildings. Our foundations are built on almost 4000 years of a promise, of a mission, and of a shared destiny among us.
And even though there are some, even among us, who continue to try spread division through arbitrary things like skin colour and food, they will fail in the end, because we, as a people, are far stronger than the petty divisiveness they sow.
When we left Egypt, we were not white or black or brown and we were not Mizrachi or Ashkenazim or any other designated identity that some are overly obsessed about these days.
We were Israelites.
We were Jews.
We were a people forged in the sands of time and held together by a promise of a God we could not see – a promise without an expiry date. A promise that, despite the many differing views among us, has held us together.
We don’t need to get ‘woke,’ because we’ve been awake for a very long time.
So, on this Pesach and on every other day, let’s celebrate our freedom, our history, our culture and all the things that make us who we are.
In this world in which we are constantly under attack, let’s stand together and keep our Jewish identity alive, for it is one we should all hold onto proudly.
About the writer:
Justin Amler is a noted South African-born, Australia-based writer and commentator on international issues affecting Israel and the Jewish world.
While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves. LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).
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