Freedom is an essential value.
Freedom is an essential value. As we celebrate Passover this coming week, we remember and retell the story of the Jews’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. We tell about our journey to freedom. We tell about the struggles and frustrations and, ultimately, our success. This story withstands the test of time because we make it meaningful in how we tell it year after year. We tell the story with symbols like matzah—unleavened bread—and we engage the kids in the telling as well. We tell it with a big meal and we tell it in the first person. And in each generation, we add something to the story to make the topic of freedom relevant in the current time. Sixty years ago, we made the story relevant by discussing the civil rights movement. Forty years ago, we told the story as it related to women’s rights and freeing the Soviet Jews. We’ve told the Passover story and used it to remind us of the fight for LGBTQ rights, and for the fight against systemic racism and gun violence. And this year, many of us will tell the story and call for freedom from the social isolation imposed by COVID. We must still be vigilant, of course. We can’t be too quick to push aside the protections that seem to restrict our freedom, like masks and social distancing rules. But COVID has reminded us of the tenuousness of our freedom. COVID has reminded us that being in lockdown is one of the worst forms of tyranny. COVID has reminded us that we cannot take our freedom for granted. At this year’s Passover seder, tell a story from this past year that will make the freedom of this coming year taste that much sweeter and feel that much more essential.