Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Voice of Daat: Independence Day

If during Passover, I looked up the definition of the word “freedom,” then today, I ask myself what the definition of “independence” is. What is an independent country and what is an independent woman?
In my opinion, independence is expressed through the right to vote.

As citizens of this country, we have the right to choose our leaders and influence the social and political processes and all the other state affairs.
The generation living under Turkish rule and the British Mandate lived under the rule that they did not choose. They lived under a different people who ruled them, shaped their lives, and granted or denied their rights.
Women of the previous generation, who already lived in an independent state, had no right to choose their personal lives. Women's employment was not acceptable and legitimate during the years in which my mother’s generation was at the height of its bloom. A woman could work as a teacher or at a daycare or from home as a seamstress. Most other professions were not an option for them.

The right to vote is the cornerstone of Judaism. But this right is limited. The Torah states "See that I gave you today life and death and good and evil…. And you have chosen in life." Every person has the right and the obligation to use the power of foresight, to see life and listen to what they have chosen. This is a call to action. Regarding choice. But, along with granting the right to vote, the Creator commands us to choose live. We need to be guided and commanded in the choosing, because a person is a combination of matter and spirit, body and soul, not always inclined to choose the right path.
Choice in life is not trivial. Choice in life usually not choosing what’s easy, comfortable, habitual, what the environment expects from you to do. Choice in life is a choice that results in thought, individual work, and thorough review.
In our generation the right to vote has been expanded. We elect the government and its employment, each of us can choose between being a housewife or a working woman, too. Almost all professions are open to us, all schools, all options to pursue higher education.
When choosing life, it often becomes necessary to compromise or give up one’s wills, to understand and meet the challenges that our choice brings, sometimes reselect the same choice after further thought and sometimes change direction. Every choice has a price and usually there is no such thing as perfection.

When choosing, we must remember the commandment, and that you have chosen in life. You have to choose what grants a fuller, significant life, life that is comforting and to arrive at a choice that you can live with content.

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