For the week ending 12 January 2008 / 5 Shevat 5768

Thanks for Every Son

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How does one relate to those Jews who have yet to commit themselves to a religious lifestyle?

An interesting perspective on this issue is provided in the Torah portion of this week.

When our ancestors in Egypt were informed that when they would be freed from bondage and would offer the Paschal sacrifice in Eretz Yisrael, they might be faced with a question from their children as to the meaning of that ritual. The Torah informs us that they bowed three times in gratitude for the three promises of liberation, inheriting the land promised to their ancestors and that that they would be blessed with children.

What is striking about this is that in the Hagadah we recite at the Pesach Seder the question mentioned above is identified as coming from the wicked son who is more cynical than curious. Nevertheless there is a bowing of gratitude for even such a son because he has the potential for change.

This is the optimistic attitude of all those precious Jews reaching out to their alienated brothers and it is the success of such efforts that will secure Israel forever.

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