Dayeinu; A template for gratitude —  Joel Merris

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I’m thankful for my freedom

Every year on Pesach we read the following statement in the Haggadah:  “In every generation one is obligated to look at himself as if he left Egypt”.

This poses another question; How can we possibly understand the reality of living in Egypt? What it felt like to be a slave, of being subjected to the challenges and difficulties that faced the Jews living in Egypt under Pharaoh. After all, we are free. Or are we?!

We live in the Information Age (also known as the Digital Age or New Media Age) characterised by the rapid shift from traditional industry to an economy based on information technology. Emails, WhatsApps, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter all dominate our lives, every day, every hour, every minute. 

We are visually bombarded with digital messaging, consumerism has consumed our lives — we have become used to being told what we need, when we need it and where to get it. We have literally become slaves to technology and digital media. Throw in business commitments and the complex job of raising children and we’re talking about all-consuming back-breaking work, with very little or no time for rest.

I am always fascinated when people tell me that the Torah is old and antiquated, outdated and irrelevant. In truth the Torah has become more relevant today then every before. It provides us with the very tools to deal with the complex issues that face us today in the Digital Age. In fact, it gives us the very tool we need to acquire true freedom and liberation from the enslavement of our hectic lives — Shabbat.

Once a week our family gets to experience true freedom, from sunset to sunset. No emails, no Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, no TV, no smartphones and no computers. We get to spend time together, to talk, to play games to communicate and even sleep! For me Shabbat has become an island in time, an opportunity to unplug, recharge and reconnect. It’s what I look forward to every week — try it, you may find real freedom!

Joel is a frustrated creative, husband to Jackie and father to two sons.

Click here to read Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft’s Pesach article
Click here to read Adam Zartz’s Pesach article
Click here to read Rabbi Emma Gottlieb’s Pesach article
Click here to read Jamie Kawalsky’s Pesach article
Click here to read Adam Selikowitz’s Pesach article
Click here to read Simon Apfel’s Pesach article
Click here to read Elan Lohmann’s Pesach article

Click here to download a PDF of the April edition of the Chronicle

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