Leor Sinai
Iron like a lion in Zion.

On Passover — Transformation through Revelation

Living a Jewish life includes living within a particular framework of values and memories (i.e. we were slaves in Egypt), rituals and experiences.  Passover, a microcosm of Jewish life, requires a set of guidelines in preparation for the Festival including the cleaning of “Hametz,” dietary constraints, and of course the ‘Seder,’ an order accompanied by a guide, the ‘Haggadah.’

Within this framework we remember stories, sing songs and chant blessings all reflective of Passover’s primary theme – עבדים היינו – “we were slaves.”  Slavery vs. Freedom, duality in general, is reflective throughout our existence.  The book of Genesis begins with creating order out of chaos for “…the earth was unformed and void…” so God decides on boundaries and creates: light and darkness, day and night, the heaven and earth, and so on.

The Passover Seder does just that – it reminds us of the order of things.  Like Genesis, the book of Exodus is a story about creation, of setting boundaries – of transformation through revelation, the Children of Israel become the Nation of Israel.  It is precisely this act of transformation through revelation that the Jewish People seek to recall, continuously, year after year, that “we were slaves in Egypt.” Creation of the world cannot be duplicated, but the transformation from slavery to freedom can be recalled, urging us to appreciate the duality of existence: yesterday we were slaves, today we are free.

The story of Exodus is simple and easy to understand, yet the journey of Exodus — as in life — is complex and full of surprises. It is the complexity of life that brings us meaning, allowing us to grow spiritually and intellectually constantly knowing from where we came, so that we may know to where we are going.

Educating our children is the greatest cause of our time. At Jewish National Fund USA’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) we do education. Our students explore living history leading to a transformation and discovery of self within our shared narrative.  It is as a result of this journey that we empower our youth to forge their link to the chain of Jewish continuity, finding their place around the table in the telling of our story.  Just as “in every generation one must see him/herself as having exited Egypt” so too every generation is charged with teaching the next, bridging past-present and future.

In Egypt we were slaves, today we are free – what will tomorrow bring?  That’s on us to decide!  My bitrei zuzei (two cents).

Wishing all a Happy and Transformative Pesach!

About the Author
Originally from New York, Rabbi Leor Sinai made Aliyah, moved with his family to Israel, in June 2011. Growing up he was involved in NYC's night life as a club producer and M.C., in 1995 that all changed while he spent the academic year abroad studying at Haifa University in Israel. It was when then Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated that Leor realized there were more important things to life. He changed his academic concentration and took a detour thereby challenging himself to focus on more important things. Since then Leor's professional resume includes experiences in the field of leadership development, organizational advancement and consulting. Leor was ordained in 2009 at The Jewish Theological Seminary and works passionately to build networks of individuals focused on making our world better. Leor began his tenure as co-CEO at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education in October 2013. While diversity can become a source of divisiveness, it in fact should be a basis for unity. When we demonstrate compassion towards others, accountability for our actions, and availability for our community, we reveal the enlightening potential of our existence. It is imperative that the world I live in values and welcomes those who wish to be a part of it.