Use your gift of freedom to speak out

  • Chief Rabbi Goldstein for Pesach HOME
Pesach is the time we treasure the gift of freedom, which G-d first gave to our people 3 329 years ago, when He liberated us from the slavery of Egypt. South Africa today is at a critical point in its history, and the message of Pesach is powerfully relevant.

It reminds us of the preciousness of the gift of freedom, but also of the responsibilities that come with it. Judaism teaches that freedom and responsibility are deeply connected, and that with freedom comes the responsibility to do good in the world.

This is why as soon as we left Egypt, G-d took us straight to Mount Sinai to give us the Torah - our practical moral vision and framework for all time.

G-d has blessed South Africa with freedom, but it has been a blessing that came through great sacrifice of so many brave people, like Nelson Mandela and others; people who were prepared to sacrifice everything so that this country could be free.

And now, at this time, we must use this G-d-given gift of freedom to make South Africa into a better country. As citizens of this country, our rights and freedoms are protected by the Constitution and we must use them to make our voices heard.

More and more courageous people are speaking out against corruption and state capture, calling for a country and political leadership of integrity and service.

These voices are coming from civil society, from business and labour organisations, from all political parties, including from within the senior leadership of the ANC, from the judiciary, from the media and from religious leaders.

We, as the South African Jewish community, must join these voices. We have so many platforms at our disposal. There are marches taking place throughout the country, and we should join these marches.

I will be attending the march on the Union Buildings, taking place on Friday (April 7), and invite community members to join the thousands of South Africans from all walks of life who will be making their voices heard.

There are other marches taking place in Cape Town and throughout the country. Let us join these marches. Let us take a stand. Let us be part of creating a better country.

While we take action and join the struggle against the tyranny of corruption, let us not forget the power of prayer. At this time, let us turn to G-d and ask Him to bless South Africans with wisdom and courage, at this critical moment in history, so that South Africa can indeed fulfil its great potential to be a country of blessing and light for all.

Chag Kasher v’Sameach. Wishing our entire community a kosher and joyous Pesach.


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