Perashat MikessFriday, December 19, 2014
Our society places a great deal of importance on the concept of Freedom. Revolutions and wars have been fought in pursuit of freedom. The entire Western Civilization rests on the concept of individual freedoms and liberties. It is the raison d’être of modern society.
Perashat Mikess recounts the moment in which Yosef, after being imprisoned for 12 years was released and found his freedom and liberty. Yosef was rushed out of the dungeon, given a shave and a change of clothes and placed in front of Pharaoh. Our Sages comment on the words “rushed him” and ask why is it that Yosef had to be rushed out of prison? Could he have taken his time to shower, shave and change his clothes in a relaxed manner? Why did he have to be rushed?
The answer given is, that a Divine salvation and redemption, comes hastily and unexpectedly. When the decreed moment of freedom arrives, there cannot be any delay or pause. Freedom is too precious and valued to be held or delayed even if for a few moments.
This week we witnessed the release of Alan Gross from a Cuban prison after 5 years of imprisonment. Needless to say, it brought great joy and happiness to see him walk down the airplane free and unrestricted, enjoying his liberty. Many of you know that I took it upon myself, together with James Berenthal, the cause of Alan Gross. We made several trips to Cuba in search for ways to speed his release from prison. I am happy to see that our work and dedication was not in vain and that our recommendations and advice contributed and ultimately was the way to secure his freedom.
Another Jew however, Jonathan Pollard has spent over 30 years of his life languishing in prison here in the United States. Despite our pressures and efforts, his freedom has not yet been secured.
As we celebrate the miracle of Hanukkah this week, we celebrate also this week’s miracle of the freedom of Alan. Our people 2200 years ago were under the oppressive yoke of the Syriac Greeks. Their freedom of thought, expression, and religion were violated. The valiant Maccabees fought a war of liberation and with G-d’s help vanquished the enemy, and restored Jewish Sovereignty and freedom in the Holy Land.
Let us pray that all those languishing in prison unjustly, find their Divine redemption speedily in our time, Amen.
Dec 4 2021
Kislev 30 5782