Public Papers - 1992
Message on the Observance of Passover
Beginning on the evening of April 17, Jews around the Nation and throughout the world will observe Passover, the traditional celebration of the Israelites' Exodus from Egypt. In the Jewish calendar, this holiday is also known as the Feast of the Unleavened Bread and the Festival of Spring. During Passover, a people who have all too often known oppression and persecution will reaffirm their faith in the Divine Judge, who brought them out of Egypt and delivered them from slavery. Passover is, in the words of the kiddush which Jews recite as they drink each of the four cups of Passover wine, ``a time of freedom.'' This Passover comes at an especially precious moment in Jewish history. Since Jewish families and friends last gathered around the seder table a year ago, we have all rejoiced at the modern exodus of Jews from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union to Israel. We have also triumphed in the repeal of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, that infamous declaration, which wrongly equated Zionism with racism. We celebrated together the defeat of Iraqi aggression, a modern day threat to Israel and the entire Middle East. Finally, we began a process that for the first time in history brought together Israel and all of her neighbors to make peace.
The most well known portion of the Passover Hagaddah is the ``Ma Nish'tana'' -- the four questions asked by the youngest child in the family about why this night is different from all others. This year the answers are especially vivid. Today, more people live in freedom than ever before. In the last few years, we have witnessed the liberation of millions of people from the political and ideological oppression under which they lived. As we stand united today in freedom, we have an unprecedented opportunity to move forward toward our goal of a more humane and peaceful world.
Barbara and I extend our best wishes to members of the Jewish community for a joyous Passover.