Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Pesach 5774

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a wonderful Pesach. This Shabbat, being in the middle of Pesach, we do not read a weekly portion but one that mentions the festival of Pesach.

I would like to share with you comments about the Haftarah (the reading from the Prophets) for this Shabbat of Passover. We read from Ezekiel, Chpater 37, which is known as the Vision of the Dry Bones.

Ezekiel, who was exiled to Babylon in 586 B.C.E., has a vision of a valley full of dry bones. The spirit takes him thru the valley and indeed it is filled with many bones and they are very dry. G-d asks him whether he thinks that these bones can live again. Ezekiel answers, "O L-rd G-d, only You know." Ezekiel is told to prophesy over these bones and say to them that G-d will "cause breath to enter you and you shall live again...and you shall know that I am the L-rd." Ezekiel does as he is commanded, and suddenly there was a sound of rattling and the bones came together, bone to matching bone. And there were sinews on them, and flesh had grown and skin had formed over them, but there was no breath (ruach) in them.

Ezekiel is then told to prophesy to the Ruach (the breath) to come from the four winds and breathe into these slain so that they may live again. Ezekiel does so, and they stood up on their feet and they were a great multitude. G-d explains to Ezekiel, "These bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, we are doomed.' Say to them, 'I will put my breath into you and you shall live again, and I will set you upon your own soil' - that is the promise."

Every generation read Ezekiel's prophecy and held up the hope that, no matter how bad things were in the 2000-year exile, that a renaissance of the Jewish people will take place and the downtrodden will come back alive. Our generation, more than any other, has witnessed the fulfilment of these words.

Imagine those survivors of the Holocaust and the many refugees who came form the four corners of the earth to reclaim their homeland and build modern Eretz Yisrael.

Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sameach!