The Exodus—the story of the Israelites’ freedom from Egyptian slavery 3,000 years ago—is the ultimate story of freedom. And not just for Jews. But for people seeking liberation from subjugation in so many other times and places. Including here in America.
From the founding fathers, to abolitionists like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas, to presidents like Lincoln and leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, the themes and symbols and moral truths of the Exodus story have been at the core of how Americans seeking freedom from tyranny have seen themselves. One could argue that without the Exodus there might be no America.
To make that case last Passover—and to take us on a tour of the way the Exodus has been used throughout American history—we talked to Rabbi Meir Soloviechik, who teaches at Yeshiva University and helms the oldest synagogue in the United States. We loved the conversation so much that we wanted to share it again this year.
You don’t need to be a believer to love this episode. You just need to be concerned with how divided we have become, how we have lost a shared sense of reality, a shared sense of ethics, and shared stories from which we can draw universal meaning and inspiration.
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