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Thursday, 11 April, 2019 - 10:28 pm

There is a story about Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon. They were conducting the Seder in (a town called) Bnei Brak and were retelling the exodus of Egypt all through the night. Until their students came to them and said: “Our Rebbes! The time for reciting Shema has arrived.”

All through the night they were retelling the redemption. All through the night. This story happened after Jerusalem was destroyed. The Roman oppression was crushing the remnants of Israel. It was only a matter of time before a number of these rabbis met martyrs’ death. It was night in the fullest sense.
What did they discuss? That night there was no talk of strategy, no ad hoc committees, no public relations. They spoke of the Redemption from Egypt. All through the night. It permeated the night and dispelled it. On this night the holy men were connected with a past which assured them of a future. The present had lost significance.
The time of the reciting of he Shema has arrived said the students. For immediately proceeding Shema is the prayer And gather us in peace from the four corners of the earth. “You have dispelled the darkness. We hear the echo of the Redemption.”
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