Parashah Ponderings

The Significance of the Pascal Lamb Then and Now

How appropriate that on this weekend before Martin Luther King Jr. Day we read of the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt! Dr. King, inspired by the Hebrew Bible, our Torah, sacrificed his life fighting for racial and economic justice, a theme that resounds throughout the Book of Exodus and comes to a climax with this week’s reading, Parashat Bo. Moreover, in memory of Dr. King, communities nationwide dedicate themselves to continuing his struggle to make sure all Americans, indeed all people everywhere, are accorded dignity and opportunity. With this week’s reading, Jewish communities have an opportunity to consider their own commitment to this struggle.

In the spirit of remembering Martin Luther King, Jr., this week’s “Taste of Torah” from Rabbi Matt Dreffin, associate director of the Institute for Southern Jewish Life’s education department, addresses one aspect of the original Passover meal that symbolizes much of what Dr. King stood for. The pascal lamb, represented today by a shank bone on the seder plate, calls us to reach out to those less fortunate in our communities who want for food. Caring for the needy is not something we think about only on Passover or act on one day a year on MLK Day or on any given “mitzvah day.” Caring for the needy is one of the great, eternal mitzvot of the Torah, a command that we must heed every day of our lives. I hope Rabbi Dreffin’s message resonates for you and that you will share his lesson in the spring as you and your friends and loved ones wonder what a shank bone is doing on the seder table.

Read “The Pascal Lamb’s Importance” by clicking HERE.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Dan

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