Let My People Go—Not Stay: Passover and Jewish Immigration Enthusiasm

April 01, 2010

[Previously by Charles Bloch:

Human Events vs. Pat Buchanan
]

The Jewish holiday of

Passover
, which is now on the fourth of seven days,
is

now being used to promote Open Borders.

This should not be too surprising.
Jews are unfortunately

over represented
in the Open Borders lobby. Said
lobby manages to turn every holiday—both

religious
and

secular
—into an excuse for immigration enthusiasm.
And unlike say

Christmas
or

Fourth of July
, there at least appears to be some
semblance of a connection between Passover and
immigration.

For those who
are not familiar with the holiday, Passover, along with

Rosh Hashanah
and Yom Kippur is the main religious
holiday for Jews (as opposed to the

manufactured holidays
like Hanukah.)

Passover
celebrates the biblical exodus of the Jews from Egypt.

In the Book of
Genesis, Joseph

interprets the dreams of Pharaoh and predicts a famine.
 In gratitude,
Pharaoh allows the Jews into Egypt where they prosper.
Later, a less benevolent Pharaoh

enslaves the Jews,
and they remain in bondage for
four hundred years. As their numbers multiply, he fears
that they will revolt so he orders the death of all
newborn Israelite boys.

One Israelite
sends her son

Moses in a basket in the river to avoid this fate
.
He is found and adopted by the Pharaoh`s daughter.
Moses, aware of his true pedigree, becomes the leader of
the Israelites after a revelation by God. Moses demands
that the Pharaoh free the Israelites. Pharaoh refuses.
In retaliation God sets ten plagues upon the Egyptians,
culminating in sending an Angel of Death to kill all
first-born boys The Israelites` houses are
“passed over”
by the Angel, hence the name of this week`s festival.

The Pharaoh
finally relents and the Jews are freed. Then Pharaoh
changes his mind once again, and his army to chase the
Jews to the Red Sea. God

parts the Red Sea for
the Israelites to cross, and
then closes it and drowns the Egyptians.

The usual
suspects try to portray the Israelites as migrant
workers. They

point to biblical passages
such
as
Thou
shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye
were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
(Exodus

22:21
);
“When

strangers sojourn with you in your land,
you shall
not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you
shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall
love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the
land

of Egypt
.”

(
Leviticus
19: 33-34,)
and "You shall
not oppress the stranger; you know the heart of the
stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."

(Exodus 23:9)

At the
pro-amnesty rally last Sunday, a Rabbi said that the
"the Jewish
community understands that the story of Passover is the
story of the first group of migrant workers.”
[March
on America
, Youth for Western Civilization,
(video clip, plays at 2:40)]

In the
Huffington Post, New York State Senator

Eric T. Schneiderman writes that
that
the holiday offers some guidance to Jews on how to
ethically address the modern question of American
immigration.”
He quotes some of the aforementioned
passages and rhetorically asks

“…Can we honestly say to ourselves that we don`t `wrong` the immigrants
who are strangers in our land when we allow them to be
paid less than minimum wage, or look the other way when
contractors fail to provide safety equipment to workers
doing dangerous jobs? When families are torn apart? Or
when we detain or deport people without the due process
that our own citizens would expect if they were faced
with losing their homes or their liberty? The Jews are
commanded over and over to welcome the stranger, but
lawmakers across the country want to make it a crime to
provide assistance of any kind to an undocumented
immigrant.”
[Passover
and Immigration
, Eric T.
Schneiderman,
Huffington Post,
March 29, 2010]

But this is nonsense, as both a
literal and metaphorical look at the Torah reveals.

The precise Hebrew word that is
used for stranger or alien

in the Torah
is

“Ger v`tohshav”,
which translates literally into
“sojourner”.

Stephen Steinlight
, a former national affairs
director with the American Jewish Community, explains
why these passages have absolutely no bearing on
immigration policy:

“`Ger v`tohshav` is first used in Genesis 4:23 [actually Genesis
23:4] to describe Abraham when he dwells briefly with the Hittites in Kiryat
Arba, what is today

Hebron
. Richard Elliot Friedman, a leading authority
on biblical language, translates the term as `alien` and
`visitor.` And every English dictionary defines sojourn
as a temporary stay. Given this translation, this
passage has absolutely no utility to those, including
leaders of mainstream Jewish organizations, who argue
that 12 million illegal aliens should be permitted to
remain permanently in the
United States
. Indeed,
it furnishes excellent ammunition for the anti-amnesty
coalition—that is, were it equally prepared to
trivialize scripture.”
[Cease
Citing Bible To Defend Bush`s Immigration Bill,

Stephen Steinlight,
The Forward,
April 27, 2007]

It is also wrong to compare the
Biblical Jews with modern day illegal aliens, because
they immigrated legally.


“And Pharaoh
said unto Joseph: `Say unto they brethren: This do ye:
lade your beasts, and go, get you until the land of
Canaan; and take your father and your households, and
come unto me; and I will give you the good of the land
of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Now thou
art commanded, this do ye: take you wagons out of the
land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives,
and bring your father, and come.” (
Genesis
45:17-18)

Beyond this, if one is to use the
"immigrants are Israelites" analogy, then Americans must be
Egyptians. Then we must ask: were the Israelites good
for the Egyptians?

Clearly, Joseph and his small
family helped out economically by advising the Pharaoh
to store grain prior to a famine. While initially only a
handful of Israelites came to
Israel

for economic benefit,
“And the children of
Israel

were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied,
and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with
them.”
(Exodus
1:7)

The Pharaoh`s justification for the
extreme measures against the Israelis was their sheer
numbers:

“Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than
we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they
multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth
out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight
against us, and so get them up out of the land.”

(Exodus 1:9-10)

While the Pharaoh`s measures were
draconian, the people of Egypt did not deserve to be
filled with locusts, plague, and have their first-born
sons killed.

In this respect, the story of
Exodus can be seen as a warning against the high costs
of cheap labor.

Beyond the plagues set forth on the
Egyptians, the Israelites were not model immigrants.
Before Joseph even came to w:st="on">Egypt,
it was clear that the Israelites had no intention of
assimilating. God told his father Jacob,
“`I am God, the
God of your father…Do not be afraid to go down to w:st="on">Egypt, for there I will make your
family into a great nation.`”
(Genesis 46:3)

The Israelites, hence never
considered themselves to be part of the nation they
joined, but rather a nation within a nation. Moses` life
journey was to bring the Israelites to the promise land
so that they could be their own nation.

Beyond these specific passages,
anyone who has ever seen the old Cecil B. DeMille movie

The Ten
Commandments
can spot immediately an obvious
difference between the Israelites in Egypt and
immigrants in America:
The Israelites
wanted to leave Egypt—while immigrants want to come to
America
.

The story of Passover is about the
Israelites` flight from Egypt. Moses demanded to the
Pharaoh “Let My
People Go”
. Today`s
illegal aliens are demanding
“Let My People
Stay”
—and even
“Let My People
Invade”.


Charles Bloch (
email
him) is a Jewish supporter of patriotic immigration reform.