The Price of Freedom

Source: The New American Haggadah

Our impulse is to run from this moment, to pretend that our merciful God has not transformed into a God who snuffs out the lives of children. But this story exists for a reason, and perhaps not the one often assumed. The plagues suffered by the Egyptians are meant not merely to serve as expedient metaphors. This is a political story, yes, but one with a harsh and morally problematical lesson about the price of freedom.

There is no such thing as immaculate liberation. From time to time, such as in the Velvet Revolution of the former Czechoslovakia, liberation has been achieved without the shedding of blood. But it’s naïve to think that the defeat of evil comes without cost.

The Exodus story ends in freedom for Jews; the Civil War ended with freedom for African-Americans; World War II ended with fascism vanquished and the death camps liberated. Can we say that the ends don’t justify the means?


haggadah Section: -- Ten Plagues
Source: The New American Haggadah