The Concept of Freedom:
Definitions and Discussion
Freedom and Slavery
- Dictionary Definitions
autonomy owning a person as property
deliverance withdrawal of power of resistance
emancipation manipulation of other human beings
unhampered boldness subjugation
Discuss the concepts of "freedom" and "slavery". Participants should be encouraged to express their feelings about freedom and slavery.
Record responses on the board as follows:
i. Each person is free to do i. You cannot do what you want
as he/she wants
ii. You can decide and choose ii. You cannot decide or choose
iii. You can work if you want iii. Forced labor
Types of Freedom
There are four types of freedom:
- Physical freedom - the possibility for a person to go where he/she wants and do what s/he wants
- Spiritual freedom - the privilege of being able to express one's thoughts or to live according to one's outlook
- National freedom - the authority which enables a person to identify and to live with others of his/her people
- State freedom - the ability of a person to live (preferably in his/her own land) under a government of his/her choosing
Discuss in class if we are free according to all these four criteria.
Freedom at Pesach
for younger children
Following from the Haggadah text, discuss in class:
! Why were the people ! ! What types of work !
! of Israel called ! ! are described in the !
! slaves? ! ! Haggadah? !Participants should find references in the Haggadah to demonstrate answers to these questions.
Use paper or cardboard to make the shape of a kiddush cup and write in it, in a bright color, the expression:
It is said in the Haggadah:
In every generation each person should consider himself as if he went out of Egypt (Pesachim 5)so we drink four cups in a reclining position in the way of free men, and not in an upright position, which is the way of slaves.
Freedom in the Jewish Calendar
for older participants
- Note the similarities and differences between the festival of Pesach and Yom Ha'atzmaut. How is the feeling of freedom expressed in Yom Ha'atzmaut?
- Lag B'Omer - the rebellion of Bar Kochba, a freedom fighter, an occasion to teach the song: "Ish haya beYisrael Bar Kochba shemo."
- The festival of Chanukah - Hellenization as an experiment of spiritual slavery and the Maccabean revolt as a revolt for spiritual freedom.
- Shavuot and Freedom
"Only a person who learns Torah is free" (Pirkei Avoth ch. 6. Mishnah 2).
How is Shavuot connected with the idea of freedom?
These fast days are connected to Jerusalem:
10th Teveth 9th Av
17th Tammuz 3rd Tishri (Fast of Gedaliah)and, together with Jerusalem Day, all are connected to freedom in the same way. Discuss.
- Teach the song: Tziyon Ha-lo tish'ali lishlom assirayich.