By Baruch Cohon

As engraved on the Liberty Bell, the 11 famous words “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof” are a translation of 5 Hebrew words in one of the final chapters of the Book of Leviticus:  וקראתם  דרור  בארץ  לכל־ישביה  We’ll read those words in synagogues this week.

The Torah presents three views of liberty.

We strive for liberty of action: we want to be able to do our work well enough to enjoy the fruit of our labor, and to help others if they are in need.

We also seek liberty from evil: no brutal government should be able to persecute us for the group we belong to, or crush us with extreme taxation, squelching our efforts for success.

Finally, and vitally important, there is one liberty we can have now.  We just need to claim it.  It’s called Unity.  Just as our Biblical ancestors all could serve G-d together, we can join with those who share our citizenship or our heritage – or both.  We have the liberty to be one with our fellow Americans.  We may agree or disagree politically, but we are one nation.  Also we have the liberty to be one with our fellow Jews, those who share our American liberty, those in danger in Europe, or defending Israel, or isolated in other continents.  We are one.  Unity brings strength.

Let’s proclaim liberty.  Now.

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