il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

Out in the World

punturelloBy Pierpaolo Pinhas Punturello*

In the Torah, we read the commandment and the description of the first seder in our history, the first night of the eternal ceremony that marks the liberation of our people. There are many differences between Pesach “mitzrayim”, the ritual performed by our ancestors in Egypt, and Pesach “dorot”, the ritual of the following generations. A gesture and a commandment stand out: spreading the paschal sacrificial blood on the doors and the lintels of Jewish houses. Such ritual, of course, was not repeated by the following generations. However, this commandment’s lesson stays on: the blood must be spread on the inside of the doors, not on the outside. On the inside, before getting out, before presenting oneself to the world, through articles, thoughts, exhibitions and speeches. It is a commandment that presents its lesson in the form of an image: before going out, think of your Jewish identity and of blood as your identity bond. It must not be a limit, but a reflection. We have to be thoughtful when we quote, when we mention non-Jewish cultures, when we write about history, when we put ourselves between the door and the lintel, between the inside and the outside world. During that terrible night in Egypt, our fathers did not get out of their houses, because death and justice walked through the streets without mercy. When we go out in the world, we have to think of the mercy toward ourselves and to rightly value our culture as a starting point, not as a showcase.

*Pierpaolo Punturello is a rabbi. The article was translated by Federica Alabiso, student at the Advanced School for Interpreters and Translators of Trieste University, intern at the newspaper office of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.