Identity and Freedom
Passover has many names. The Festival of Spring testifies to Passover's agricultural significance and celebrates renewal and new beginnings. Passover is also called the Festival of Freedom, a name associated with the festival's historic and national significance – a commemoration of the exodus from Egypt. In the Identity and Education class I taught this morning, we read several texts that address the connection between identity and freedom. I would like to paraphrase a line from one of them, "Thick and Thin", by Michael Walzer:
My multifaceted self (attacked on all sides) needs a multifaceted society in order to express my various abilities and skills, my diverse notions of who I am.
We are privileged to live somewhere that aspires to be, and often succeeds in being, a multifaceted society of this kind. I will bear this in mind when I recite the traditional shehehiyanu blessing this Passover.
For another gloss on the connection between identity and freedom, see the clip below: