Okay, now that we are free, what do we do next?
Passover celebrates the redemption of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery, which we commemorated and recreated during the Passover Seder. But that begs the question: If we were freed 3,326 years ago when we left Egypt – and that redemption was permanent, transforming us into a free people – why are we told that we need to envision ourselves always being freed from Egypt. Once we have become free, we are free, so why do we still need to re-experience being set free? And, after we have re-experienced being set free in the first days of Passover, what do the last days of Passover add?
Maybe this made sense when the Jews were trying to exist under Greek or Roman oppression, or were being persecuted by the czars, but today? Never before in history have the entire Jewish people been as free as we are today. But if we are so very free, why are we continuing to pray for the final Messianic redemption?
The answer to all these questions lies in today’s futuristic Haftorah about another redemption that occurred on Passover, several hundred years after the very first one from Egypt. This redemption does not teach us so much how to leave slavery, but how to envision freedom.
It is a tale of biblical proportions, replete with ten tribes that went missing, two Jewish kings names Hezekiah and Hoshea, two Assyrian kings name Shalmaneser and Sennacherib, 185,000 Assyrian corpses, and one very fascinating Messianic vision from the Prophet Isaiah.
In this wild story – stranger than fiction – the template for a perfect, harmonious, peaceful world was laid out for us.
Hint: It’s one thing to no longer be enslaved; it’s quite another to be a free person. True freedom is not merely living on the defensive but being on the offensive, not merely fighting the darkness but also finding the light.