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04/29/2022 01:55:49 PM


First of all, in the name of Chevra Shaas, we send our condolences to Ron Mashaal on the loss of his father; and to Rev. Hazzan Benlolo, on the loss of his sister.  May their memories be for a blessing. min ha-shamayim tenuhamu!


This past Thursday, 27 Nisan according to the Jewish calendar, was Yom Ha-Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Is there a connection to Pesach (15-22 Nisan)?

Well, yes. For the Passover story begins with Pharaoh decreeing that all Israelite baby boys should be killed. A great role model for the Nazis ym”sh.  But there might be something even more.

Towards the beginning of the hagada, we refer to the words arami ‘oved ‘avi, from the Book of Deuteronomy. Those words are usually translated ”my father was a wandering Aramaean,” referring either to Abraham or to Jacob. Yet the ancient and authoritative Aramaic translation, known as Targum Onqelos, translates “Lavan the Aramaean wanted to destroy my father [Jacob.] And it is obvious that the author of the hagadah follows the approach of Onqelos, for we recite towards the beginning of the hagada, ”Go and learn, what Lavan the Aramaean intended to do to our father Jacob. For Pharaoh decreed the destruction of only the males, whereas Lavan wanted to root out the whole nation.”

What!!!??  Whom did he want to eradicate?  Besides Jacob, he would have destroyed his 2 daughters, and his 12 grandchildren (11 boys, 1 girl: Benjamin hadn’t been born yet.) Why was he so mad at Jacob?  Well, Jacob had been working for him as a shepherd.  It seems that Jacob had been extremely successful as a breeder. Finally, Jacob, with full agreement of his wives, runs away, together with his wives and children.

What did Lavan say? “the girls (i.e. the wives) are MINE, the children are MY children, the sheep are MY sheep, and whatever you see is MINE. And I would have harmed you, had I not had a dream in which your God told me not to harm you.”

According to this interpretation, Lavan is the role model for antisemites throughout history.  Persecuted Jews come into a land (as Jacob was running from Esau,) become very successful, bring wealth and culture into their adopted country, and then are despised for their success.

And that’s why we say in the hagadah: “in every generation they try to destroy us, but the Holy One Blessed be He saves us from them.” And that’s why we appreciate the great miracle of 5 iyyar, coming this week!!

Shabbat shalom, and Yom Ha`atsma’ut sameah.

Mon, June 27 2022 28 Sivan 5782