2017-03-20 – Today is the first day of spring. Three weeks from today my family and Jews around the world will be celebrating the spring festival Passover (פסח – Pesach). I always host a Passover Seder (feast). You can see my illustrated Passover Haggadah – the liturgy for the Seder by clicking here (if you want to come back later, you can find it by clicking the art oh9 link at the top of my blog).
In the weeks leading up to a Seder, I give some thought to things happening in the world and my life that connect to some aspect of the story of Passover. If Passover is new to you, here’s a quick synopsis:
Moses’ demand of the Egyptian Pharaoh was terse: “Let my people go!” But why would Pharaoh comply? Moses’ Israelites were his slaves, building great works for the nation. But Moses had divine miracles up his sleeve: 10 plagues that broke Pharaoh’s will and brought freedom to the Israelites.
My question for this year is: Why 10 plagues?
The answer, according to the account in the book of Exodus, is that after each plague, Pharaoh hardened his heart.
He was warned. He was given an explanation. Nevertheless, he persisted.
Sound familiar? Of course, this is a paraphrase of Sen. Mitch McConnell, speaking about Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Only the pronouns are different.
The thing that interests me about this is that, in my point of view Sen. Warren was persistent for a good cause. Pharaoh was persistent for a bad cause. How can this be?
The struggle for justice is just that: a struggle. There are two sides (at least) and neither side is giving up without a fight. Pharaoh persisted, but so did Moses—10 times, the Bible tells us—before Pharaoh relented and freed the Israelite slaves.
And even that was but a momentary slip on Pharaoh’s part. Before the freed slaves could get very far, Pharaoh reverted to his hard-hearted self and sent his army out to take it all back. (If you don’t know how it turned out, Moses split the Red Sea allowing the Israelites to escape and Pharaoh’s army was drowned.)
It’s a war of persistence.
Sen. McConnell labeled Sen. Warren’s tactic with uncharacteristic accuracy. She persisted. But Sen. McConnell persists in his own war. It can only be overcome by following Sen. Warren’s lead. #ThePersistence.
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