The nascent nation of Israel has been through quite a lot. Centuries of persecution and slavery, attempted mass murder of their infant sons and redemption. Followed by a chase that pits Heaven against Egypt’s cavalry as the sea closes in, then the war with Amalek, Sinai and revelation, the rebellion of the Golden Calf, forgiveness and construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle).
And now, they are taught about a myriad of sacrifices. Some offerings are voluntary, but some are required no matter whether the giver is rich or poor, no matter how hard, or how much the sacrifice truly takes. Add to that it seems a bit strange to tell those who are just freed from bondage that they must learn to sacrifice. They’ve been sacrificing for generations.
That though is the lesson.
It never ends.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, asked what had resulted from the Continental Congress, he replied “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Vigilance is the eternal price of liberty.
Yes, they had had a rough go. Yes, it was a tough beginning. No, they could not sit back and relax a bit.
Nothing good comes cheap.
We must always be willing to sacrifice.
That’s true in our halls of government, our councils of state, our board rooms and our living rooms.
Words to consider. Ideas to ponder. Politics and the parsha.
By Howie Beigelman
Howie Beigelman, formerly of Springfield, NJ, is executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities. He is a strategic communicator at the intersection of Jewish communal service and nonprofit political advocacy. Follow him on Twitter @howielb.