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Life-Transforming Passover Meditations
The Civil War & the Beilis Blood Libel
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Farbrengen 11 Nissan, 5771/2011, honoring the 109th birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Talk One – The Beilis Trial: One hundred years ago, in April 1911, a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy Andrei Yushchinsky was murdered. In one of the most infamous blood libels in history, Mendel Beilis, a Jew from Kiev, was charged with the murder, supposedly motivated by the desire to use the boy’s blood for matzah. The Bailis trial brought forth a truth about the Jewish people, articulated long ago in the Midrash, and embodied in daily life by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose birthday is commemorated tonight. Talk Two – The Meaning of Freedom: 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln cast his Inaugural Address as a last-ditch effort to win back the South. A single thorny issue divided the nation, he declared: "One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute." Civil war broke out and it cost 600,000 lives. Slavery in the US was abolished. The slaves experienced their “Passover.” Many a Muslim nation battle today to acquire their freedom from tyranny. But freedom in Judaism is more than the absence of slavery and oppression. A reflection on two forms of liberty, one called “chofesh,” the other—“charus.” One is negative freedom; the other—positive freedom."
Talk Three—The Challenge of the Ego: The difference between the egotist and the humble human being is the difference between Chametz and Matzah, the inflated dough vs. the humble dough. It is the difference between the letter Hay and the letter Ches. Both types of people fall. One knows how get back into the circle of life; the other remains stuck in the abyss. This Passover, try an exercise.
Talk Four—the Crisis of Ignorance: Why is the rebellious child, the Rasha, counted as number two in status, right below the wise son, while the ignorant child is on the bottom of the list? Because ignorance is in many ways far worse than rebelliousness. How the four sons represent the four generations of Jewish immigrants to the free and open countries.