Josh Lyons - Dvar Torah
Shabbat Shalom everybody. My parashah this week is M'tzora (one suffering from a skin disease), but it is also Shabbat Hagadol, the grand Shabbat before Pesach. My Haftorah is a special reading for Shabbat Hagadol and so I will be talking about Pesach.
Pesach (Passover) celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to freedom. It's a tale as old as time which most, or everybody, knows well. Moses is called upon to go to the Pharaoh and ask for the release of the Jews from slavery and allow them to journey to their own land. When Pharaoh refuses, Hashem sends plagues upon the land to force Pharaoh’s hand. Typical of most tyrants, Pharaoh gives his blessing, only to change his mind and enslave them once again. Finally, in frustration or desperation, Hashem sends the tenth and most severe plague of all, the death of the first-born Egyptian children. Ironically this Is a similar decree to the one Pharaoh passed with the slaying of the Jewish babies. We all know that the Israelites were then released grabbing their possessions and unleavened bread (matzah) in their haste to leave before the Pharaoh once again changed his mind. In a final attempt, Pharaoh sent his army after them, only to see them perish in the Red Sea, while the Jews continued their march to freedom.
But are we truly free?
While we celebrate our freedom, we need to be aware that in one way or another, some people are still "slaves". In some places, some people are not free to Express their religion, while we are fortunate enough to be able to do so. Slavery still exists today in the form of child labour, underpaid workers, poverty and hunger, etc., which is why during the pandemic, my family started the Morningstar feeding Scheme, where we feed the underprivileged people of Morningstar.
The state of disaster may have been lifted, but the need in these communities is still great. One does not need to join an organization to make a difference, it can be something as simple as a smile, packing an extra sandwich for someone in the morning or an extra item or 2 with your grocery shopping. I would like to end with these words...we have learned: say always," the world was created for my sake," and never, " of what concern is all of this to me?" Live as if all life depended on you. Do your part to add some improvement to supply something that Is missing and leave the world better than how you found it.
Change your mind set Change your community Change the world THANK YOU I