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Lio Shabbat Hagadol 5774 (eng) - CISU

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Pessah: Recombining 2 identities 


Our 2 hagadot symbolize 2 different jewish dimensions. 

The challenge: Finding the equilibrium between "National" and "religious" identity. 

Pessah is incredible: the Torah tells us that if we missed this holiday, we are required to celebrate it once again before Shavuot. This is quite ridiculous because if you missed Sukkot for example, the Torah doesn't expect from you to sit and live in your sukkah for another 7 days two months after Sukkot ! And if you were not able to fast on Yom Kippur, you don't have to observe and keep this crucial day once again before the next year. And same goes for all the other holidays.

So why is it so important concerning Pessah? Because you can't receive the Torah at Shavuot before leaving Egypt first. In other words, you can't receive Jewish principles before becoming a nation first. Being Jewish first means having a national identity. Only afterwards should Judaism be viewed on a spiritual and religious level.
Jew, יהודי, juif, joden, اليهودي, Jude, all stem from Judaeus - a term which refers to the kingdom of Juda. This political and national entity that has disappeared 2500 years ago.
By the way, in antiquity we didn't consider Judaism as a religion at all; we don't refer to the Jews and the Christians, the Jews and the Muslims... No! We refer to the Jews and the Romans, the Jews and the Greeks as we should say today the Jews and the Belgians.
That's one of the historical proofs we are a nation before we became a religion...

The problem: today, the Jewish people can unfortunately be divided into two groups. We have people who think that Judaism is "just a religion"; they pray 3 times a day, they know Maimonides' philosophy, but are unfamiliar or ignore with the ideas of Zionism and the state of Israel. And we others who believe only in the "economic development of the state of Israel", they know Jabotinsky's doctrine, but are unfamiliar or ignoreTisha Be'av and Rabbi Yohanan Ben Zakai.

The big challenge of the "Seder of Pessah" is therefore recombining "Israelism" and "Judaism". Our sages have indeed reunified two different versions of the Haggadah. The first (opening with "Avadim ayinu") expressed the national dimension of "Judaism" while the second (opening with text "Mitechila") emphasized the religious importance of our tradition. When these sages (called "Svoraim", 7th century AC) saw the gap created between the two populations, they immediately reconciled them when bringing us one universal Haggadah (our current one). Will be able to do the same next Monday - considering ourselves as Israeli as Jewish?