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    Freedom for the generation – B’har

    liberty bellThe famous Liberty Bell is but one of many echoes of the Torah’s message, “Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants” (Lev. 25:10).

    These days we would use the word cherut for liberty, but the Torah uses the word d’ror. The commentators try to work out its derivation.

    Ibn Ezra thinks it denotes a singing bird, which makes music as long as it is free but loses its voice if confined and denied freedom.

    A Talmudic explanation links it with dur, to dwell, and dirah, a dwelling, and suggests that the real freedom is the right to dwell wherever you wish, without being turned away or herded into a ghetto.

    According to Nachmanides it is connected with dor, a generation, and it tells us that a person who can choose to come back to his family is thus enabled to take his place in the tradition of the generations.

    Whichever interpretation you prefer, the message is clear. Freedom is the right to speak, to believe, to pray (or not to pray); the right to be yourself; the right to choose where you go and where you make your home.

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