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Коктейль: Кабала, психология, хасидус, и разные приправы.

Рав Меир Брук. Персональный сайт о загадках и ресурсах еврейской традиции в современном мире для современного читателя. О воспитании, о каббале, о хай-теке, о внимании, о возрастных кризисах и т.д. Автор - работает над созданием русскоязычной еврейской общины в Jewish center of Brighton Beach - Бруклин, Нью-Йорк. Read more...

Ukrainian “Day of freedom and dignity”: parallels with Passover and Hanukkah
Geschrieben von: M. Bruk   
Samstag, den 22. November 2014 um 08:07 Uhr- 4мин. чтения
There are no translations available.

This week the Ukrainian people celebrate a very important day for the establishment of their renewed identity. The 21st of November has been declared the “Day of freedom and dignity”. One year ago on this day, Maidan began, and the first demonstration gathered which grew into a nationwide movement.
It is very instructive to compare this new holiday with two Jewish ones – Passover and Hanukkah.

Passover is the Jewish holiday of Freedom.

Hanukkah is (among other things) the Jewish holiday of Dignity.

The day of freedom – Passover – marked the very beginning of Jewish history, when Jews had just taken their first steps, fleeing from Egyptian slavery. As our wise people say, the Jewish people were at the stage of “infancy”. According to the Torah, the entire process was controlled by the Almighty, and the Jews were like a “herd”, passive and without initiative, led by the “shepherd”, who

was Moses/Moshe-Rabbenu.

The day of dignity – Hanukkah – is the latest historical holiday. The Almighty is not presented in this story (unlike the story of Passover) as the one who causes the events. Here the Jews themselves “raise their heads” and wage a righteous war against the Greco-Syrian invaders. In the minds of many Jews, Hanukkah is the most heroic holiday of the Jewish people in ancient history, when the people showed courage, determination, a feeling of their own dignity and adherence to their ideals, which ensured that the army of foreign invaders was defeated.

In modern Ukrainian history, both of these processes have been united in one holiday, and have many parallels with the stories of Passover and Hanukkah.

The Ukrainian people gained freedom by displaying dignity and heroism, by throwing off the shackles of indifference and “post-Soviet” apathy. In other words, Ukraine was “reborn” in an “adult” state, after going through a “mid-life crisis”.

In describing the formation of the Jewish people, the Torah tells us that our forefather Abraham was once given a prophecy that his descendents, the Jews, could become the chosen people – only by passing along the road of slavery. You cannot forge steel without hitting it with a hammer. You cannot rise up without sinking down. To become a people who value freedom, one must pass through oppression.

The slogan of Passover is: “Let my people go!” Moses spoke these words to the pharaoh, but the Egyptian ruler refused him, bringing the “plagues of Egypt” on his people. The tenth plague broke the stubborn ruler, and he let the Jews go (and as we will recall, not many of them were even prepared to stop being slaves – and remained in Egypt), but within a week later he sent soldiers to pursue Moses.

A great deal of courage and faith is required to become free. And only true ordeals can make us face the choice – to remain in captivity or to go free?

In the modern situation, for Ukrainians Russia was an equivalent of Egypt, as the successor of the Soviet Union, after the collapse of which some of the former republics were able to escape from the system (from “slavery”), while some – especially Ukraine and Belarus – remained in the old “fetters”, although formally these countries became independent. And this manifested itself not so much politically as mentally.

The role of the Egyptian ruler is being played by the current president of Russia, who clearly tries to react to the appeal “Let my people go” like the stubborn pharaoh. He is bringing “ten plagues” on his country in the form of political, economic and spiritual problems.

But if we don't regard him as a person (which many commentators are already doing anyway), but follow the history of the Jews' liberation from the power of the pharaohs, their Exodus, it becomes clear that the Russian leader is fulfilling his historical role, by creating conditions for the Ukrainians in which it is impossible to remain in captivity any longer.

If the Egyptians had continued to respect the Jews, as was the case with Abraham's grandson Jacob, who was the first to go to Egypt with his sons, then the Jews would not have had to return to Eretz-Israel, they would not have received the Torah, and so on.

The story of Hanukkah is about the resistance of the Jewish people to the enormous Greco-Syrian army led by King Antiochus, which invaded the small country of Israel, like the Russian troops invading Ukraine.

During Hanukkah, the Jews gradually formed their military divisions with devoted commanders, and an army was created that triumphed over the superior forces of the Greeks, not least thanks to the fact that the Jews were fighting for and defending their native land.

It may be said that the hostile intervention, for all its negativity, helped the Jewish people to come of age.

The formation of the army, the resistance to the superior forces of the enemy, victory in the war, patriotism, a feeling of dignity – this is what unites the Jewish story of Hanukkah and the modern history of Ukraine.

We see that Russia plays the role of a “productive opponent” or a “sparring partner”, like Egypt and the Greco-Syrians, and the Ukrainians have received the opportunity to reenact scenarios from Jewish history with profit.

Incidentally, the creation of modern Israel also has many parallels with the Ukrainian formation process, but this is a topic for a separate article.

In celebrating the “Day of freedom and dignity, one wants to believe that the lessons of Jewish history will be learned, the Ukrainians and Jews will feel ready and willing to become “blood brothers”, and the Ukrainians’' newly acquired freedom and heightened feeling of their own dignity will become the foundation of national pride.


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