'Teach your children the truth' writes Choni

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With all the mixed messages from our spiritual and lay leaders regarding the importance and applications of Pesach in the Diaspora - writes Choni Davidowitz, pictured - and how we, as Jews, should be thankful that we can celebrate Passover in a free society, we should be reminded of the true meaning of the Pesach seder.
by CHONI DAVIDOWITZ | Apr 25, 2016

Everyone knows that among the commandments which we perform on seder night is the all-important commandment of teaching our children the story and message of the Exodus from Egypt.

It cannot be that we have exerted so much time and energy just to munch matza and gefilte fish, and drink four cups of wine, and listen to the Four Questions, and everyone joins in the singing. Nu? What’s it all about? What are we supposed to teach our kids on seder nights? What should our rabbis teach their communities?

At the very beginning of the Hagaddah it says:

“Now we are here; next year may we be in the Land of Israel.”

We are supposed to teach our children that we don’t belong in Brooklyn or Brussels, or Sydney or Johannesburg. We are supposed to teach them that Hashem doesn’t want us living in all kinds of "Egypts" no matter how comfortable they might seem, and that a Jew cannot be really free in someone else’s land, but only when he lives in his own Jewish homeland.

On seder night Jewish fathers and mothers, as well as Torah leaders, are supposed to tell their children and communities the truth - that their future is not in Johannesburg or Toronto, but in the Land of Israel. Hashem gave us the Land of Israel to live in. He took us out of Egypt and brought us to the Land which He promised to our forefathers. He told Moses and the Jewish people, over and over that the Torah was to be lived in the Land of Israel, not in gentile lands.

This is the only true message of the seder night. That is what we are supposed to teach our children - that we don’t belong in foreign, gentile lands. A Jew belongs in Israel. One does not have to be a genius to figure out from the Bible that Hashem wants the Jewish people, the Children of Israel to live in the Land of Israel.

It is written there at least 500 times. That is the whole story.

Then why don’t the Jews in the Diaspora understand it?  Why are our children not taught this simple message on seder night?  Year after year the Land of Israel is missing from the festivities. That’s what happens when a Jew has been living in gentile countries for almost 2 000 years. For him “Next year in Jerusalem” becomes a slogan without meaning.
Forgotten is Hashem’s commandment to live in the Land of Israel. Forgotten is Hashem’s command to establish a Jewish kingdom in Israel with a Jewish king and a Sanhedrin, and a Jewish army and Temple.

To the rabbis and parents in the Diaspora: Next Pesach teach the Jewish children the truth.

 Choni Davidowitz, Golden Acres.



  1. 6 Mel 25 Apr
    Is that Golden Acres in Jerusalem?
  2. 5 Mervyn 26 Apr
    Choni you are the epitome of "The Armchair Zionist "

    Why are you not living in Israel ?

  3. 4 Choni 26 Apr
    To Mel and Mervyn
    Thanks for reading my letter.
    Where I live has nothing to do with my sentiments.
    I am 84 years old and my words are about young children in the Diaspora, and what they are taught.
    P.S. I am an Israeli citizen now residing here.
    Does this disqualify me from giving an opinion?
  4. 3 Mervyn 27 Apr
    You said " A Jew belongs in Israel " 
    I imagine that would include you, regardless of your age.Rabbi Akiva was uneducated at age 40 and look what he achieved subsequently.
    You are entitled to your opinion of course,but your words ring hollow because meaningful education happens when educators lead by example.
    The best Zionist education occurs when Zionist leaders and educators make Aliyah, and give true meaning to the concept of Hadrachah.
  5. 2 Choni 27 Apr
    Mervyn, You are 100% correct. I am neither a Zionist leader or educator whom,as you say, should promote Aliyah. My sentiments, even if they ring hollow, are meant for these leaders.
  6. 1 David B 29 Apr
    @ Choni -  I agree that the teachings say ' Next year in the Land of Israel( Jerusalem)' but we have all grown up educated 'Thank G-d'  and therefore have the ability to choose for ourselves where we will be next year .
    I'm in my place of choice - Sydney .
    Your current personal place of choice seems to be Johannesburg -- good luck to you !


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