Writing the Story of the Exodus on the Souls of the Next Generation

March 31 2023

In rabbinic texts, the fundamental religious obligation of the Passover seder is to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik observes that the word sippur, used here for “storytelling,” derives from the Hebrew root for a book (sefer) or a scribe (sofer). Drawing on the ancient mystical text Sefer Yetsirah (the Book of Creation), Soloveitchik explains that the term refers neither to literal writing nor to mere narration, but to an injunction to parents to inscribe the story on the souls of their children—to “take a living person and turn him into a book.” (Video, Yiddish with English subtitles, 34 minutes.)

Read more at Ohr Publishing

More about: Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Judaism, Passover

In the Aftermath of a Deadly Attack, President Sisi Should Visit Israel

On June 3, an Egyptian policeman crossed the border into Israel and killed three soldiers. Jonathan Schanzer and Natalie Ecanow urge President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to respond by visiting the Jewish state as a show of goodwill:

Such a dramatic gesture is not without precedent: in 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls visiting the “Isle of Peace,” a parcel of farmland previously under Israeli jurisdiction that Jordan leased back to Israel as part of the Oslo peace process. In a remarkable display of humanity, King Hussein of Jordan, who had only three years earlier signed a peace agreement with Israel, traveled to the Jewish state to mourn with the families of the seven girls who died in the massacre.

That massacre unfolded as a diplomatic cold front descended on Jerusalem and Amman. . . . Yet a week later, Hussein flipped the script. “I feel as if I have lost a child of my own,” Hussein lamented. He told the parents of one of the victims that the tragedy “affects us all as members of one family.”

While security cooperation [between Cairo and Jerusalem] remains strong, the bilateral relationship is still rather frosty outside the military domain. True normalization between the two nations is elusive. A survey in 2021 found that only 8 percent of Egyptians support “business or sports contacts” with Israel. With a visit to Israel, Sisi can move beyond the cold pragmatism that largely defines Egyptian-Israeli relations and recast himself as a world figure ready to embrace his diplomatic partners as human beings. At a personal level, the Egyptian leader can win international acclaim for such a move rather than criticism for his country’s poor human-rights record.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: General Sisi, Israeli Security, Jordan