il Site with wisdom of life The contribution of the Jewish people to the world can be summed up in the five words that come from the Passover holiday: memory, optimism, faith, family and responsibility. The academics have been wondering for many years why Jews, eighty percent less than a quarter of a percent of the world''s population? Or as Milton Himmelfarb put it: "'The total number of Jews is less than the standard deviation range of the annual birth rate in China?" Has had such a significant impact on almost all areas of human endeavor.
What explains the extraordinary fact that in the 20th century, the Jews won more Nobel Prizes than any other minority, with nearly one fifth of all the winners of this prize being Jewish? It may all begin with the birth of our people and the Passover holiday that we will celebrate soon. Passover teaches five key concepts, which are mantras for our people, about managing a successful and useful life. These are the five things that are most important to know about Pesach, and to integrate into everyday life during the rest of the year. The five things that permeated our national consciousness during the millennia that have passed since the redemption of Egypt, in which we have been able to realize our role, as defined in the prophecy, to be a light unto the nations.
These are our greatest contributions to the world, and can be summed up in five words: memory, optimism, faith, family and responsibility. The importance of memory The Catholic Irish writer Thomas Cahill was so impressed by the great change that the Jewish people made to the world that he wrote the book that eventually became a world bestseller: The Gift of the Jews . One of the main gifts he attributes to Jewish Genius is the invention of the concept of history.
We must remember that "'you were strangers in the land of Egypt" and to behave accordingly, and to remember that "'I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage".
The mention is a Torah order, which never before seemed important to anyone, until the people of Israel came onto the stage of history. It was the Passover story that dedicated the commitment to memory. Among Henry Ford''s famous words is the saying that "'history is nonsense"; Ford is also famous for producing the Ford ''Edsel'? Which was one of the most painful and expensive failures in the automotive world? And it''s probably two equally crude errors. Knowing history is the only way we can learn from the past. History allows us to grow when we stand on the shoulders of a giant.
Every person is wrong at least once, but only a fool does not learn from experience. That is why it is so important to pay attention to the famous words of George Santillana that "'those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it". We know how terrible lives can be when they lack the memory of past events. On the personal level, this phenomenon has a name that we all fear: Alzheimer''s.
We fear this disease even more than death, because it turns us into living corpses. Surprisingly, our lexicon does not have a similar word to describe a total ignorance of our common past.
Knowing what happened in the old days is as important historically as it is personally important. Only through awareness of our past as a people will our lives be filled with purpose and meaning. Memory connects our past to our future, turning history into a destiny. The understanding that we should cherish memory was our first step up the great ladder. The Importance of Optimism An in-depth study of the Passover story leads to the conclusion that the most difficult task that was imposed on Moses was not the removal of the Israelites from Egypt, but the removal of Egypt from the children of Israel.
They were so used to the status of slaves that they lost hope of ever improving their fate. Without hope they would have been lost. The great miracle of Pesach and its importance for generations is the message that with Gd''s help there is no insurmountable difficulty.
A tyrant ruler like Pharaoh can be overthrown. It is possible to win a strong nation like Egypt. Slaves can be freed. The oppressed could untie the chains of his captivity. Everything is possible, if we allow ourselves to dream the impossible. In the story of the design of the symbol of the United States, the official seal of approval for documents issued by the government, it is particularly interesting to describe the proposal by Benjamin Franklin in August 1776.
"'Pharaoh sits in an open carriage with a crown on his head and a sword in his hand, and he passes through the split waters of the Red Sea, in the pursuit of the Israelites: horns from a pillar of fire in the cloud, an expression To the Divine control and presence, shine upon Moses who stands on the beach and spreads his hands on the sea and causes him to overwhelm and defeat Pharaoh. "'The motif he proposed, based on the Passover story, influenced George Washington and the founding fathers of the American colonies to rebel against the British tyranny:" rebellion by tyrants is obedience to God ".
Thanks to the description of the exodus from Egypt in the Torah, the spirit of the optimism of Martin Luther King''s followers could have fulfilled their aspiration for equal rights, because the image of Moses leading his people to the Promised Land aroused them. That hope that was born of the memory of the way Gd freed our ancestors was what enabled the Jews who were forbidden in Auschwitz to secretly celebrate the Festival of Freedom and to believe that their own personal redemption.
This optimistic spirit, based on the miraculous story of our people, is the second wonderful gift we have given to humanity and defines our identity.
The Importance of Faith A pessimist, they say, is someone who has no help from a hidden source. Jewish optimism is rooted in the opposite idea - a firm belief that we receive divine assistance from Gd loves. And such a belief in God that relates to us personally gives us faith in ourselves, in our future, and in our ability to help change the world. The God of Mount Sinai did not say, "'I am the Lord your God, who created heaven and earth," but said, "'I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt,.
The God of creation could theoretically leave the world as soon as he completed his task. The Gd of the Exodus, on the other hand, made it abundantly clear that he was always involved in the history of our people, and that he was faithful to our continued existence. Thomas Cahill, author of The Gift of the Jews, not only gives the Jews credit for monotheism but also the revolutionary idea that accompanies it? A higher entity that maintains personal contact with us. This approach, he notes, is the key to Western perceptions of personal responsibility, conscience and guilt for ourselves and for the world at large.
The Passover story makes it clear that history is not coincidental, but is proceeding according to a Divine master plan.
It has a predetermined order, and Seder is the central ritual of Passover. There is nothing in Judaism like "'coincidence". Incidentality is Gd''s way of remaining anonymous. Believing in this provides us with certain knowledge that what will be our troubles today, history continues to advance towards the final redemption. This is what has always motivated us to believe in progress and to take part in repairing the world.
The importance of the Pesach family taught us another important truth: The way to repair the world begins with our families. Gd did not establish the people of Israel by ordering mass gatherings in central squares, but rather by asking the Jews to turn their homes into a place of family heavenly work, in a disorderly night designed mainly to answer the children''s questions. It seems obvious - children are the future. They are the ones most in need of our attention. The house is where we begin to shape our identity and discover our values.
The seeds of our future, the seeds that ensure the continuity of our existence, are sown even more in our homes than in our synagogues.
It is no wonder then that the sages note that the first letter in the Torah is B, a sign that means home. The whole Torah comes only after we understand the precedence of the family. The world can mock the Jews for their overprotection of their children and their way of life around them, but it is precisely these characteristics that are primarily responsible for the extraordinary achievements of their offspring. At the Seder table, we encourage the children to be the stars of the evening, and their questions are treated with respect. This is the first step in the development of the Jewish mind.
The Importance of Responsibility One serious question cries out to heaven, as we celebrate our Divine deliverance from the slavery of Egypt: We thank God for taking us out of Egypt, but why did Gd allow us to be victims of such terrible treatment in the first place? One answer is particularly striking in many biblical texts: Since we were slaves in Egypt, we must identify ourselves and show sympathy to the oppressed in all generations.
Were we slaves in Egypt? And therefore we must take care of the rights of the foreigners, the homeless and the poor. Have we experienced working? And therefore we must understand most of all the pain of the oppressed. The tragedy of enslavement in Egypt and the injustice it entailed would in large measure prepare us to function for many generations throughout the future, as those of those whose pain we can personally identify.
The purpose of our suffering was to make us determined to correct the wrongs of the world, to become God''s partners in making the world worthy of the final redemption. We open the seder at the invitation of the hungry and the homeless to join us, and end the seder by opening the door to Elijah the Prophet. Accepting our responsibility for others is the key to accelerating Christ''s coming.