Freedom and Slavery

  1. Dictionary Definitions

      Freedom               Slavery ========================================================autonomy              owning a person as propertydeliverance           withdrawal of power of resistanceemancipation          manipulation of other human beingsliberty               drudgeryfrankness             captivityoutspokenness         serfdomunhampered boldness   subjugationseparation            bondageindependence          enslavement   servitude

  2. Exercise

    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:

    Freedom                          Slavery=============================================================i.     Each person is free to do   i.   You cannot do what you wantas he/she wantsii.    You can decide and choose   ii.   You cannot decide or chooseiii.   You can work if you want    iii.  Forced laboriv.                                iv.v.                                 v.

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

  1. Exercise

    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.

  2. Crafts
    Use paper or cardboard to make the shape of a kiddush cup and write in it, in a bright color, the expression:
    Zman Heruteinu.
    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.

  3. Review
    • How do we express the idea of freedom at the seder?
      1. We lean to the left side when we eat and drink;
      2. We use our best dishes;
      3. We put on festive clothes;
      4. Certain communities re-enact the exodus to freedom during the seder.
    • Discuss the four expressions of redemption and their meaning:

      Vehotzeiti     Vehitzalti     Vega'alti      Velakakhti

    • By drinking four cups of wine we symbolize the ambition for freedom and redemption.
    • Teach songs from the Haggadah which are connected to freedom. Avadim Hayinu...
    • Vehotzeiti Vehitzalti Vega'alti Velakakhti
      Draw four shapes of a kiddush cup. Then write each of the above words on a separate goblet.
    • When do we sing the song,
      "Leshana haba'ah biy'rushalayim"? [Next Year in Jerusalem]

      Is there a connection between this song and freedom?

Freedom in the Jewish Calendar

for older participants

  1. 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?
  2. Lag B'Omer - the rebellion of Bar Kochba, a freedom fighter, an occasion to teach the song: "Ish haya beYisrael Bar Kochba shemo."
  3. The festival of Chanukah - Hellenization as an experiment of spiritual slavery and the Maccabean revolt as a revolt for spiritual freedom.
  4. 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 Av17th Tammuz             3rd Tishri (Fast of Gedaliah)

    and, together with Jerusalem Day, all are connected to freedom in the same way. Discuss.

  5. Teach the song: Tziyon Ha-lo tish'ali lishlom assirayich.






Share           PRINT   
20 Jul 2005 / 13 Tamuz 5765 0