Chaim Y. Botwinick

Chag Pesach: A Time for Reflection, Peace and Achdut


As our Jewish communities in Israel and throughout the diaspora prepare for Chag Pesach, its time for all of us to take a long deep cleansing breath.

During these past several weeks, we have witnessed a level of anger, frustration, consternation, hatred  and divisiveness unsurpassed in recent memory. To be sure, the level of sinat chinam (baseless hatred) between members of our Jewish communities, reached an inflection point and feverish pitch  that could have easily GD forbid been a prelude to a civil war in Israel – let alone a perpetual and irreparable divide in our diaspora Jewish communities.

Now that the State of Israel Judicial reform ruling is being back-burnered or postponed, we are only beginning to witness and experience new levels of normalcy and relative quit in the streets of Tel Aviv and Yerushalayim and in the corridors of our diaspora Jewish institutions,

As a result of this new welcomed, albeit fragile  relative calm, it now time for heartfelt reflection and introspection.

As we sit together and recline at our Pesach Seder tables, we will recall yetziat mitzrayim, the exodus from Egypt and how we all stood united together at the base of Har Sinai while experiencing kabbalat haTorah (the giving of the Torah) as “one person, and with one heart”.

We are truly thankful to HaShem that we are a free people; from slavery; from persecution and free to celebrate Chag Pesach and Chag HaMatzot with family, friends and neighbors in the safe comfort of our homes,

But, we as a Jewish community, should never ever take this freedom for granted.

Today, with the resurgence of global antisemitism, we are experiencing a sense fear and anxiety resulting from the recent resurgence of global antisemitism. We will with Gd’s help and oversight fight this battle of hatred as we have throughout our history. But, the “enemy from within” – between our own brothers and sisters must be challenged and must be contained and controlled.

Wherever and whenever  differences  exist between our people, we must always remember that we are all created B’zelem Elokim (in the image of GD). To this end, we must show each other understanding, empathy, compassion,  respect and civility. Violence and hated within our Jewish community should never be acceptable under any circumstance.

On this Chag Pesach, let us set aside our differences and eliminate the sinat chinam which has overtaken our communities. Lets all sit and enjoy the Pesach Seder, as one people, one nation and as one family.

We can do it; we have done it; and we must do it for ourselves and for future generations.

Repeating the story of yetziat mitzrayim, should be a reminder to all of us that we are all one people with one destiny.

Let’s please put aside our differences during this sacred period of Chag HaMatzot. Maybe, just maybe this chag will usher in a permanent period of peace, calm and civility.

To all, a Chag Kasher v’Sameach!

About the Author
Dr. Chaim Botwinick is a senior executive coach and an organizational consultant . He served as president and CEO of the central agency for Jewish education in Baltimore and in Miami; in addition to head of school and principal for several Jewish day schools and yeshivot. He has published and lectured extensively on topics relating to education, resource development, strategic planing and leadership development. Dr. Botwinick is Author of “Think Excellence: Harnessing Your Power to Succeed Beyond Greatness”, Brown Books, 2011
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