Slaves or Slave-Owners?

An extraordinary comment in the Jerusalem Talmud over-turns our self-image as “slaves in Egypt” and reminds us that we might have been slave-owners too in Egypt.  It suggests that Passover commemorates not only the day when we became a free people but also the day when we freed our own slaves.

And, more disturbingly, it connects our subsequent exile from the Land of Israel, hundreds of years later, to our ancestors’ failure to free their slaves at a later time.

Today our minds have become so focused on habitual, historic narratives and self-images that we find it difficult to listen to others’ narratives and to see others’ images of us.  So, as we celebrate Passover again, the festival of our freedom, this comment from the Jerusalem Talmud deserves a closer look.  Continue reading

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