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Study and Theory/

Itzhak Ravid

The inner freedom / Poland

Yavne, 1988

The Jewish community in our town was transferred to the adjacent Brody Ghetto, and only a small group of Jews remained which was concentrated in a work camp. The task of the group was to remove any memory of the community that had lived there for hundreds of years – to totally demolish the synagogues down to their foundations (they had already been burned previously), to demolish the gravestones in the cemeteries and to deliver from them stones according to a daily quota.

In our home there was a storeroom of tools for the forced labourers, and underneath the storeroom we excavated back then a “bunker” so that we could hide in it during hard times.

On Seder Night the limited family who still remained in the town gathered so that we could perform the Seder together.  My uncle, may G-d avenge him, managed to find a Hagaddah from somewhere and wanted to at least say the Magid prayer. And an argument broke out as to whether in our situation it was still possible to say “We were slaves....and now we are free”. I suggested that we only say “Pour out your wrath”, the only liturgy that suited our situation (the situation of the Children of Israel in Egypt was better than today, if I thought about it, perhaps I was wrong then. Perhaps my uncle had inner freedom which no-one could take from him in any situation.

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