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Moses Never Said, "Let My People Go"
Toward Tradition | April 14, 2003 | Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Posted on 04/14/2003 4:50:03 PM PDT by Mr. Mulliner

Moses Never Said "Let My People Go"

Rabbi Daniel Lapin (c)

One can only wonder what bizarre ideology has invaded the brains of Americans who have resolutely opposed the Iraq war and now attempt to belittle our victory. Many people, both Jewish and Christian, mistakenly believe that Passover is a holiday celebrating freedom and liberation. Not so quickly, Harold. Moses never said "Let my people go." What he actually said was "Let my people go so that they may worship me in the desert." God did not free the Jews from being servants; he just freed them from being servants to Egypt. Henceforth they were to be servants to Him. Nothing but a switch of bosses.

This is worth noting because no other Jewish festival has been appropriated by as many chic and politically correct causes as has Passover. I have been invited to Passover seders celebrating Cuban liberation, homosexual liberation, free speech, sexual liberation, the war on poverty, animal rights and several others you'd never believe. I have a remarkable collection of seder liturgies or Haggadoth at home, to prove it. The common theme of all these up to date Passover ceremonies is the abolition of tradition. How disappointed the organizers of these bizarre seders would be to discover that Passover celebrates accepting God's authority rather than rejecting it.

Imagine being able to go back in time and rescript the twentieth century. Personally, I would have granted victory to Germany's Kaiser in World War I. Just think of it; no World War II, certainly no Lenin, no communism and no Soviet Union. How about saving millions of lives that were lost to the scourge of socialism, both national as in Germany and Marxist in Russia. And for a bonus-no France to clutter up the twentieth century. Yes, I would certainly have let Germany win the first world war.

As an Orthodox Jew, if I could go back in time would I eliminate the Egypt experience from Jewish history? Absolutely not; it served a vital function. It taught the embryonic Jewish people how to take orders. You see, a tragedy of today's public school system is that it fails to teach the single most important skill for avoiding poverty by obtaining and retaining a job. It fails to teach high school students how to take orders.

We are so intent on nurturing independence and self-esteem that we forget to impart the one quality that employers like to see in young people they hire. Most employers want to see a "will do" spirit in new employees. Most bosses detest "attitude." This is why holding down a job, any job, will serve a resume far better than a semester of midnight basket ball. Showing a future employer that you have already learned how to take and carry out orders will lead to good things happening.

Like most employers, God also prefers people who are not too arrogant to take orders; particularly orders such as the Ten Commandments. His problem was how to prepare and train these people to accept Divine authority. His solution-simple: Place them all in a kind of involuntary entry level job; well, slavery actually. A few hundred years of Egyptian bondage would work wonders. Pretty soon God's rules would appear mild and benevolent by comparison. And it worked. Imagine the rebellious response He would have got from the Israelites had He given them the Torah and its many restrictions without previously "softening" them up in Egypt. As it was, they were delighted to receive the Torah and pledge obedience.

On Wednesday night April 16th many otherwise rational Jews will celebrate their Passover seder, just as Jews have been doing for some thirty three hundred years. We will pore over a lengthy and detailed account of the Exodus and solemnly drink four cups of tongue-curling sweet wine. We will taste tear inducing bitter herbs and consume large quantities of totally non-digestible crackers called matzoh. Now if this doesn't show our acceptance of God's authority I don't know what would.

For this reason Passover focuses as much on the slavery in Egypt as it does upon the redemption. The slavery had a purpose, namely to teach us that all people are enslaved. One's only choice is whether to be enslaved to God's rules or to a variety of grotesque human ideologies. Paradoxically, true independence comes not through the abolition of all rules but through the acceptance of Divine rules. Moses urged Pharaoh to let the people go. Not to free them from all authority, but to allow them to serve the One Authentic Authority.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin is president of Toward Tradition. He is a radio talk show host on AM 770 KTTH in Seattle.

TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; Judaism; Religion & Culture
Rabbi Lapin's Toward Tradition is a national coalition of Jews and Christians seeking to advance the nation toward traditional, faith based, American principles of constitutional and limited government, the rule of law, representative democracy, free markets, a strong military, and a moral public culture.
1 posted on 04/14/2003 4:50:03 PM PDT by Mr. Mulliner
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2 posted on 04/14/2003 4:55:32 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Mr. Mulliner; angelo
Here is the problem for the Jew and Passover. God ordered a blood sacrifice for the forgiviness of sin.

Leviticus 17:11  
For the life of the flesh is in the blood:
and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls:
for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

All the preparations for Passover are useless without the blood.

Exodus 12:13
 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are:
and when I see the blood, I will pass over you,
and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you,
when I smite the land of Egypt.

1 John 1:7  
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

3 posted on 04/14/2003 8:52:28 PM PDT by Jael
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To: Jael
Leviticus 17:11

Look at the context of this passage. The chapter is about dietary law, not sacrifice. In fact, there are many types of non-bloody sacrifices mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures.

All the preparations for Passover are useless without the blood.

What do you mean, "useless"? The continuing observance of Passover is as a memorial day (Exodus 12:14) for the purpose of remembering what God did for Israel in the first Passover (Exodus 12:27). Passover is not about atonement.

Now, with regards to the Passover sacrifice,

You may not offer the passover sacrifice within any of your towns which the LORD your God gives you;
but at the place which the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it, there you shall offer the passover sacrifice, in the evening at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 16:5-6)

The last place that God authorized for sacrifice was the temple in Jerusalem. Since there is no longer a temple there, the sacrifice cannot be offered. In fact, it would be an act of disobedience. However, the commandment to observe Passover remains:

This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance for ever. (Exodus 12:14)

And so it is still observed, to the extent in which all of the particulars can be observed.

and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. (Ezekiel 18:20, KJV)

4 posted on 04/14/2003 9:38:37 PM PDT by malakhi (fundamentalist unitarian)
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To: Mr. Mulliner
Moses never said "Let my people go."
What he actually said was "Let my people go..."

Wait....are you Baghdad Bob?  Take off that beard!
5 posted on 04/14/2003 9:46:12 PM PDT by gcruse (If they truly are God's laws, he can enforce them himself.)
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To: Mr. Mulliner
read later
6 posted on 04/15/2003 8:57:08 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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