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Jeffrey Levine
Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist

My Zionist Hagadah

One of the important messages of the Seder is to make the Seder relevant to ourselves and more importantly to our children. In a world where the role of God is downplayed — how do we make the message and teachings of Judaism and our right to Israel relevant?

Let’s start with simple truths.

The same God that took us of Egypt, brought us the modern State of Israel.

There are many comparisons — We believe, share the story of the Exodus, the hardships, the miracles, we announce the hand of God. So, why is it so difficult to say — This is the Land that God has given us, we have returned to our land with legality, this is our Land. Why is the right to a Land the only country whose right to exist is questioned? We have history, possession, and international law to prove It.

Why are there wars, terror and media, and other lies that seek to diminish our rights, and place uncertainty on our connection to the land?

The Rallying cry of the Exodus story is — Let my people Go. Freedom. We want to be free in our Land.

So, let’s go through the Hagadah

Kiddush on Wine — The grape has gone through so much pain until it becomes wine, but when it does the wine is so beautiful. The same with life, and with Israel. (Credit Reb Shlomo Carlebach)

Karpas — Dipping into salt Water — The valley of tears. When will the tears stop?

Yachatz — We break the Matzah — it seems like our world is so broken.

Maggid — Let’s tell our story — Our Story of our arrival to Israel, our story that God wants us to make Aliyah. Let it be soon.

The four questions

Please search for your own Questions. This year I am asking:

  • Why is Israel treated differently to other Nations?
  • Why are we still suffering Terror and Discrimination?
  • Why the use of lies and distortion of the facts and history?
  • Why can we not live/have Peace?
  • And the 5th Question — What do we need to do to overcome these questions?

The Answer — Do we really have answers?

We need to have strong faith and Jewish Identity We need to recall that God saved us from Slavery with a mighty hand and outstretched arm. It is now time to discuss the Exodus of Egypt. It is now time to reflect on: what is freedom? And tell the story. Stories have the power to connect and take us to another place, a higher place. It is an opportunity to reflect to make our lives and the world better. The Story starts off with a Seder of the Rabbis in Bnei Brak planning for the future — a world without the Temple, how to inspire the next generation.

And how to relate to the 4 sons — the different groups and how to inspire unity amongst the different groups — Haredim, National, religious, Israelis and Atheists (Post Zionist) or whatever label is chosen.

Or could be our growth phases …or how to relate to my children — each so different. Each is a reflection of inner convictions or doubts. Each paving their own way in life.

Vehi Sheamda — In every generation they rise up to oppress us

From Slavery in Egypt to the land of Canaan (Israel)

From The Holocaust to the State of Israel

Eliyah Hanavi — Redemption — The Israel Story — is this miraculous or pragmatic or both?

At this stage — I want to share this story and insight from Reb Shlomo Carlebach.

This is a story of Rav Tzvi Elimelech. He told this story about his father. In those days, people were so poor, but a way of making money was to become a tutor in a rich man’s house. They taught children from Succoth to Pesach, they made a few hundred rubles, and lived on that the whole year. So, his father became a tutor for a rich man. The first shabbos that his father was there, there were no guests. His father said to the rich man, “How can you have a shabbos without guests?” The man said, “I don’t waste my precious money on guests.” Rav Tzvi Elimelech’s father was so innocent. He said, “Do me a favor. Take it off my salary. I cannot eat without poor people at the Shabbos table.”

He stayed there from Succoth until Pesach. A few days before Pesach, he walked in and said, Now, give me my 500 rubles.” The rich man said, “What do you mean? You owe ME 500 rubles! Because of you I had to spend twice your salary on the poor.” Anyway, Tzvi Elimelech’s father realized that this rich man would not let him go without getting his 500 rubles back, so he ran to his room, took his things and left. In the meantime, his wife didn’t have a single penny. The grocer and the butcher were asking her when she would pay them and she would tell them that her husband was bringing money on Pesach. So, he thought, how can I come home without any money? What am I supposed to do? He arrived home in the middle of the night. He was afraid to go home so he went to the Beis Midrash (study house).

Rav Tzvi Elimelech said, “I was seven years old then. I went in the morning to daven and there was my father in the Beis Midrash! I said to my father, ‘Why didn’t you come home? We miss you so much!’ He said, ‘I didn’t want to wake you up.’ I ran home to tell my mother that my father came home. She was so happy. I ran back to my father and told him, ‘For four weeks we had nothing to eat because the butcher the grocer didn’t trust us any more. Now, we went and told them that thank G-d, you are here. Now that you are home, mother used her last rubles preparing the best breakfast for you. We are so happy you came home.’

Well, my father davened so long. He didn’t know what to do. He took an hour to pack his tfllin up and I was pulling him the whole time, saying, ‘Let’s go home already.’ We walked in the street. He walked so slowly. Finally, we came to the last corner before the house. Suddenly, a Cossack came charging along and stopped right in front of my father. He said, “I am looking for Reb Feivel.’ My father said, “That’s me.” The Cossack took a little bag and threw it at my father and then took off. There was pure gold in it. Pure gold. So, Rav Tzvi Elimelech said, “That Seder night, when my father opened the door for Eliyahu HaNavi, I started yelling and I said, “Father, look — The Cossack is here again.”

May we all be blessed to see Eliyahu HaNavi this year!

Reb Shlomo would often relate before he began the prayer welcoming Eliyahu Hanavi “Pour your wrath out upon the nations that don’t recognize you” (Shefoch Chamutcha). He said the hippalach in the 60’s asked him if after we experience the loftiness of the Seder & we go out to greet Elijah the prophet, is this prayer the best we can offer, namely our hope that God pours out his wrath upon nations of the world? Reb Shlomo answered them that he saw a commentary from the Sar Shalom (Master of peace) the Belzer Rebbe that at this high point of the Seder we are really saying to G-d if there is some fixing the nations of the world need please don’t make us do it, G-d, you do it yourself. So you pour “your” wrath out. Reb Shlomo added that the Hebrew word for wrath Chamatchu according to the Slonomer Rebbe is also related to the Hebrew word Cham which means warmth. We are praying that G-d unleashes a spiritual warmth upon all the nations of the world that will help repair all the ill feelings that nations and people of the world often have towards one another. May that be now!

Hallel — Praise — Let’s look at the Cup at least Half Full — and praise God. Sing with joy.

Discussion

I don’t know about you, but these are my questions when I sit down on Seder Night and ponder on our remarkable, but troublesome story and history.

If God wanted a better world, a world where Israel fulfills its “chosen” mission, then HE sure has a weird way of bringing this about.

Let’s look at some “Facts”

  1. Palestine is now the “Universal Cause” To what does Palestine owe this privilege?
  2. Israel has no legal or historical claim.
  3. Israel’s right to defensible Borders is rejected
  4. The role of Amnesty International as the arbitrator of Truth.

Why do we allow these lies to be repeated? Just look at this article on 2 April 22 as reported in a so-called right wring Media. Why do we allow this as NEWS? There should be a disclaimer. Or are we so blind? Why help them spread their lies.

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/325097

“Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesman for Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, condemned on Saturday what he described as the “dangerous Israeli escalation that took place today at the beginning of Ramadan.”

In a statement, Abu Rudeineh noted that “Israel is carrying out this planned attack that led to the deaths of three civilians at dawn in the city of Jenin.” The statement was referring to three Islamic Jihad terrorists who planned to carry out a shooting attack and were eliminated by Israeli forces.

“This Israeli policy poses a blatant threat and challenge to international legitimacy and international law, and the occupation forces must stop all these dangerous practices, which threaten security, stability, and calm,” said the PA spokesman.

Abu Rudeineh also said that at the same time, “Jewish extremists continue to break into the Al-Aqsa Mosque” and warned that “the daily crimes of the settlers” will lead to the creation of an atmosphere of tension and instability.

He stressed that the only way to achieve security is to force Israel to abide by international legitimacy decisions and to refrain from taking any unilateral measures.

“We also call on the international community to provide international protection for the Palestinian people and not to allow double standards,” Abu Rudeineh said, noting that “Israel bears the consequences of this dangerous escalation, which will be severe and dangerous for everyone and the entire region.”

Why do we tolerate these Lies?

The solution is to have Faith, believe in tradition, and demonstrate our right to be here. No Ambiguity.

There is a famous story of a Palestinian Prisoner seeing an Israeli Warden eat bread on Passover. When he saw this, he realized that when people do not respect their tradition, then they will also reject their connection and zeal to fight for their land. This gave this Prisoner renewed hope, energy, and conviction for his cause. That Prisoner became a leader in the intifada which is still continuing till today.

The Oslo Agreement of 1995 Gaza Withdrawal led to a weakening of our strength of position and connection to the land. These were based on false facts, pledges, promises, and “guarantees” from the US.

It can be compared allowing squatters to share your lounge. After a few months, they believe this is their house, make life uncomfortable, and tell you to leave.

Even today, we are still expected to make concessions. As Coraline Glick wrote — “Arab Israeli Terrorists and Blinken’s Betrayal in the Negev”

The Negev Two-State Summit – CarolineGlick.com

The “Two-State Solution” has made a comeback. That’s the main take home lesson from the Negev Summit this week. The…

carolineglick.com

I include this as an annex as this is recommended reading for the Zionist Haggadah.

My personal Pesach story began with recollections as a young boy in Shul on Yom Kippur 1973. That was my first loss of innocence and welcome to the Jew Club. You may label me a right-winger, extremist, or settler, but I am just a Jew trying to live up to a 3,300 tradition of longing, being connected, and living in the Land promised to Avraham, where Moses tried to lead the Jewish People to, living in the city of Jerusalem, where King David established his Capital in the Land of the Jews (Yehuda).

I made Aliyah on 25 August 1995. Little to my knowledge there was a civil protest against the Government resulting from the Oslo Accords, Led by Moshe Feiglin.

https://zehut.org.il/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/where-there-are-no-men-by-moshe-feiglin1.pdf

As reported in:

https://www.nytimes.com/1995/08/13/world/israel-faces-the-limits-of-dissent.html

“A wave of demonstrations by Jewish settlers and their supporters, who have camped on West Bank hills and blocked Israeli highways to protest the planned expansion of Palestinian self-rule, has sharpened a debate on the limits of legitimate dissent. The Government calls the actions dangerous assaults on law and order, while the settlers say they are following a democratic tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience…….

They insist that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin hold a referendum on any agreement to expand Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank, arguing that it would not have the support of most Israelis. They also contend that handing over wide areas of the West Bank to the Palestinian police will endanger Jewish lives.”

Well, fast forward today it is clear that Oslo, Gaza, Camp David, etc. has led to terror and not peace. They are not Peace Accords. The Palestinians practice Apartheid. We are not allowed in their towns or villages, and we risk death by going there.

Shortly after making Aliyah, I started working in a Sugar Trading Company and was invited by one of our customers to come to Nablus (Schechem — the place from the Bible). We had hopes of peace and a better future for all. I dreamt that Hebron would be an international city of Peace with all the shops full of tourists learning about the common forefather Abraham. Alas, this is now not a possibility.

Instead, we have lies, distortion, and terror.

We put our hope in treating the Palestinian and Israeli Palestinians with dignity enabling them to have nice housing, education, health, jobs, and more. Yes, it is really cute when the Muslim shop assistant gives you a big smile, or we meet in our local park. And boom — Riots, Terror, and the indiscriminate murder of innocent Jews — lack of respect for Life. Alas, despite high living standards et al, this approach is not working.

This is fueled further by the lies of Amnesty International, and we see examples of record levels of Antisemitism around the world. We have the accusation of Apartheid. (Yes — coming from South Africa — I know what apartheid was, and Israel is not an Apartheid state), we have BDS, and the twisting and ignoring of our 1000% historical and legal claim to this land.

So, on this Pesach, I ask you God — Why? Why are you hiding? What do we need to do to correct the situation? To bring light, justice, and peace to the World. Why is this journey to Freedom, Redemption so hard?

Let’s eat some bitter herbs, eat some Matzah and remember the past. Let’s stand up say thank you and sing your praises- Hallel. Let’s Remember that you saved us not only in Egypt but from the Holocaust. You have brought us to the promised Land. We ask you once again to shine your light. This time save not only Israel but mankind and the world.

As we sing in the Seder — Next year in Jerusalem. This year we are slaves, next year let us be free.

___________________________________________________________________

Even today, we are still expected to make concessions.

As Coraline Glick wrote — “Arab Israeli Terrorists and Blinken’s Betrayal in the Negev”

https://carolineglick.com/the-negev-two-state-summit

“The “Two-State Solution” has made a comeback. That’s the main take home lesson from the Negev Summit this week. The final remarks of the four Arab foreign ministers, and from US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s remarks at the summit and throughout his visit make this glaringly obvious. All of Israel’s guests demanded that it be advanced.

The so-called two-state solution has a hundred-year history of uninterrupted failure. In 1920, the League of Nations gave Britain the Mandate for Palestine, which they were legally required to administer as the future homeland of the Jewish people. In 1922, the British carved out the majority of the land set aside for the Jews and established the Arab state of Transjordan — now known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Britain’s initial two state solution was supposed to end the Arab conflict with Israel. But of course, it didn’t. The Arabs pocketed Transjordan and expanded their war, as they have with every subsequent attempt to implement the two-state solution.

Many Israelis and friends of Israel assumed that the so-called two-state solution had finally been exhausted in 2000, when PLO chief and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat rejected the Palestinian state that Israel offered him at the Camp David Summit in July 2000 and launched a terror war against the Jewish state.

Israel won Arafat’s terror war by the skin of its teeth in 2004. This week we marked the 20th anniversary of Israel’s counter-terror offensive. Operation Defensive Shield, which began Israel’s long, painful advance to victory was launched on March 31, 2002, after a month in which 130 Israelis were massacred in nearly daily suicide bombings countrywide. In all, more than a thousand Israelis were killed, more than ten thousand were wounded in the Palestinian terror war.

But rather than abandon the disastrous two-state solution and set off on a new course, just months later, Israel resuscitated it with its “disengagement plan.” The plan involved surrendering the Gaza Strip, lock, stock and barrel to the PLO, expelling ten thousand law abiding Israeli civilians from their homes in Gaza and laying waste their villages and farms while removing all IDF forces from the area, including the border between Gaza and Egypt.

In other words, then prime minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan involved the establishment of a wholly independent Palestinian state in Gaza, in keeping with the two-state solution.

Like the establishment of Transjordan and the failed Oslo peace process before it, Israel’s surrender of Gaza and establishment of what became Hamastan in Gaza did not placate the Arabs of the land of Israel — or even in Gaza. They pocketed the concession and used the territory they received to escalate their war against Israel.

Since the failed Gaza withdrawal, we have seen dozens more plans, peace conferences, and envoys all committed to advancing the two-state solution.

There was a sense that the long nightmare with the failed policy paradigm finally and permanently died during Donald Trump’s presidency and Benjamin Netanyahu’s premiership. But now that Trump has been replaced with Biden and Netanyahu with the Bennett-Lapid-Gantz-Abbas government, this week it came roaring back.

The question is why? What is it about the colossally failed two-state solution, which makes people refuse to abandon it?

The two-state solution is based on two premises. First, that it is possible to appease the Arabs, that there is an upper limit to their demands and that it is possible to reach it without destroying Israel.

The second assumption is that the Jews and Israel are solely and only to blame for the Arab conflict with Israel. And as a result, Israel bears full responsibility for implementing the two-state solution. The reason there is no peace is because Israel is greedy and evil. It has offered the Palestinians too little. Accordingly, the job of the international community is to compel Israel to be more generous.

Antisemites will still cling to the two-state solution well after hell freezes over because of its second assumption. It gives them a “policy” to hide their bigotry behind. Even better, the two-state solution gives them license to bully the Jews, whether violently or diplomatically.

People who want to be viewed as great statesmen but are unwilling to confront Israel’s enemies for their hostility not only to Israel, but to the West also like the two-state solution. From Henry Kissinger to Blinken, secretaries of state have been able to use the two-state solution, as a justification for kowtowing to aggressors from Arafat to Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Many have hoped to win the Nobel peace prize for their bullying of Israel. All hoped to win the US immunity from Palestinian terrorists by effectively legitimizing their terrorism against Israel.

Many Israelis have also found it convenient for various reasons to support the two-state solution, which blames their country for their enemies’ aggression. If Israel is to blame for the absence of peace, then Israel also has the power to bring peace, and solve the Palestinian conflict without war. By the same token, if Palestinian antagonism is the fault of Israelis who refuse to accept the blame for Palestinian antagonism, then Israelis who accept Israel’s guilt, can join forces with the governments of the world that demand Israel surrender lands it controls to the Arabs.

Blinken showed another purpose for the two-state solution during his visit.

Blinken’s visit to Israel this week was a challenging moment for him. Like his Biden administration colleagues, Blinken is committed to implementing the Obama administration’s plan to realign the US away from Israel and the Sunni Arab states and towards Iran. When Israel learned of then President Barack Obama’s plans in 2014, Netanyahu opened a diplomatic offensive against them. The pinnacle of that offensive was Netanyahu’s speech before the joint session of Congress in March 2015, where he set out the dangers of the administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Led by Saudi Arabia, the Sunni Arab states saw Israel’s outspoken efforts and decided the time had come to set the two-state solution aside. The entire Palestinian issue was dwarfed by the existential threat Iran posed — to them, no less than to Israel. Indeed, as Israel squared off against the US and Iran, the Saudis, like the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and other Arab states wanted Israel to be as powerful as possible, since its fight was their fight as well.

This assessment by the Saudis and the UAE formed the basis for an Arab-Israeli strategic alliance against Iran. And this informal alliance in turn formed the basis of the Abraham accords.

To block criticism of the nuclear deal the US is now concluding with the Iranians, Blinken’s challenge this week was to neutralize the Israeli-Arab anti-Iran strategic alliance. And he used the two-state solution to achieve this goal.

Before Blinken arrived at the Negev Summit Monday night, he held another summit in Ramallah with PLO chief and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. When he arrived in Sde Boker, Blinken used his meeting in Ramallah to make the Palestinians the main subject of conversation.

Given the existential threat Iran poses to the nations of the region, Blinken’s efforts wouldn’t have had a chance of success without Israeli support.

Without a doubt, Blinken’s greatest Israeli supporter is Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Gantz has been carrying out an independent foreign policy aligned completely with the administration’s anti-Israel positions. Gantz’s independent diplomatic forays have included meetings with Abbas and King Abdullah of Jordan. Media reports last week indicated Gantz was working to bring both men to the Negev Summit, a move that would have ended all talk of Iran.

Gantz is not the only Israeli leader who has been ably assisting Blinken. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also helped Blinken when they failed to defend Israel against Blinken’s libelous statements about “settler violence,” which is all but non-existent.

In the face of Israeli Arab terror in Beersheva and Hadera, putting Blinken in his place and ending talk of a two-state solution would have been easy. The Israeli Arab terror shows that the two-state solution’s first premise — that there is an upper limit to Arab demands is false. If Israel surrenders Judea, Samaria, and large parts of Jerusalem the move won’t bring peace. It will move the war to the Galilee, the Negev, and the rest of what will be left of Israel. Indeed, it is already there.

But Lapid and Bennett said nothing as Blinken accused their country of imaginary crimes in furtherance of the two-state solution.

Blinken’s two-state solution offensive enabled him to ignore whatever protests Lapid and the Arab foreign ministers expressed at the Negev Summit. It also let him change the subject. In their final statements at the end of the summit on Tuesday, the Arab foreign ministers ignored Iran and joined Blinken in voicing their support for the two-state solution.

In truth, the main reason that the fake policy of “two-state solution” keeps going is because some Jews of Israel have yet to accept the truth about the Palestinian Arab conflict with Israel and what that means. The two-state solution is inherently, and necessarily anti-Israel. In a situation where the majority of Arabs living west of the Jordan River, (whether in Gaza, Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, the Negev, the Galilee, the Dan Region or the Sharon) are unwilling to accept the Jewish state’s right to exist in any borders, you can’t be pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian. You have to choose.

The proper and indeed only adequate response to the anti-Israel two-state solution is Zionism. To contend with the Palestinians, the Iranians, the Americans, and everything in between, Israel must adopt and maintain Zionist policies across the board, whether in military policy, foreign affairs and public diplomacy, in the legal system, in economics or in social affairs. Without Zionism, Israel will be incapable of defeating the new terror onslaught. It will be unable to block Iran’s path to nuclear armed regional hegemony. And it will be unable to contend with the Biden administration, which is facilitating both.”

Originally published in Israeli Hayom. It’s only fair to share…Share on Facebook Tweet about this on Twitter. Email this to someone.

About the Author
Jeffrey is a Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist (we can only dream) living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather who has five kids and four grandchildren. Jeffrey provides Financial Services for regulated Financial Companies - CFO, Key Individual, Approved Person through www.persofi.com and is a promoter of ideas and trends where Innovation meets ESG. He is looking to spread the message of Ahavat Yisrael and Jewish Unity through the music and stories through www.souldoctorstories.com and blogging.
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