ON THE Feast of Passover, commemorating Israel’s liberation from the land of Egypt, we usually recall the tribulations and martyrdom that have befallen the Jewish people throughout the ages and the miraculous escapes recorded in the long history of the Wandering Jew. We recall on this Independence Day the great Jewish Lawgiver and Leader, Moses, who delivered our people from bondage and led them to the border of the Promised Land. We recall his great wisdom, his great humility and his great patience in dealing with the generation that has grown accustomed to slavery and to the fleshpots of Egypt. The world’s history has known no equal of Moses as a national leader who brought to the world, through Israel, inspiring examples of liberty and the code of moral laws.
From time to time the Jewish people was threatened with destruction. Persecutions and martyrdom marked their history in many lands. But the spirit of Moses has kept Israel alive, while other nations perished. Every generation of Jewry has had to face new sufferings and persecutions here and there. But Israel has survived them all. With the development and spread of civilization, came Jewish emancipation in various lands. And at last, after centuries of fervent hope, came also the realization of the historic dream of Israel–the regeneration and rehabilitation of the ancient homeland of the Jewish people.
But the sorrows of the martyr ation never cease. New Pharaohs and new Hamans rise in every generation to destroy Israel. And the latest Pharaoh and Haman combined, Hitler, has added the darkest page to the countless dark pages of Jewish history. He is striking at the Jewish people, at the Jewish spirit of liberty and justice and peace, with all the refinements of cruelty, with all the savage forms of unbridled bigotry and with all the modern fabrications of pseudoscientific camouflage. The Spanish Inquisition and the Tsarist pogroms with all their horrors cannot be compared to the diabolical crimes against the Jews that are now being committed in the heartless “heart” of Europe, in Hitler’s Germany.
This is a tragic Passover in the life of Israel. But as we recall on this Feast of Liberation Israel’s and the long line of persecutors monumental record of martyrdom who tortured but failed to destroy the indestructible Jewish people, we must not fall into despair. The Pharaohs and Hamans of today are sure to meet the fate of the Pharaohs and the Hamans of old.