Mimouna in Israel, 2024: A Glimpse of Brotherhood Amidst Turmoil

In the month of Nissan, we were redeemed from Egypt, and in the month of Nissan are we destined to be redeemed in the future, according to an ancient rabbinic quote: “B’Nissan nigalnu, v’b’Nissan atidim l’higael.” This quote is the source for the Mimouna feast, celebrated annually among Sephardi Jews and Hassidim at the end of the Passover Festival. This year, we celebrate Mimouna amid a global upheaval centred in Israel.

The Essence of Mimouna

Amidst the turmoil of constant war initiated by Hamas on October 7, 2023, Mimouna, 2024, shines as a bright beacon of hope. More than just a celebration, Mimouna holds the promise of world redemption; it represents the day our prophets speak of when ‘the lion will lie down with the lamb,’ and all nations will transform their weapons into plowshares to feed the hungry and the poor. It is a reaffirmation of the eternal faith of Jews in a coming world of peace and cooperation among all peoples.

This year we are celebrating Mimouna during an ongoing war that involves not only Israel but the whole world:

Since October 7, 2023, Israel and the Jewish community have been the focus of worldwide attention due to the Hamas invasion and massacre of Israelis on October 7 and a continuing state of war in Israel and Gaza since then. We have witnessed a noticeable rise in anti-Israel/Pro-Palestinian protests on city streets and at elite universities worldwide, including McGill University in Canada, the Sorbonne in France, Columbia, Penn, and Stanford in the US: This threatens not only Jews but also innocent men, women, and children throughout the world: These war mongering protests threaten the stability of the whole world. For an in-depth analysis of the sources of geopolitical anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiments, I refer you to the work of Francisco Gil white, a contemporary scholar and historian. (*1)

Our adversaries continue to hold over 130 innocent hostages and to pose additional threats. However, the resilience of the Israeli people and Jews worldwide is truly inspiring. They persevere in the face of adversity; Their unwavering commitment to peace and justice is the essence of Mimouna. It is a testament to the strength of the Jewish spirit and the Jewish striving for worldwide peace and harmony.

From Miracles to Human Responsibility

But while Jewish tradition prophesies a time of world peace, we  consistently emphasize that Jews “do not rely on miracles.” This principle is underscored throughout our Torah:

“The Bible’s ultimate process is a movement away from visible miracles and public (heavenly) revelation toward a process of education and persuasion to get people to act properly. Increasingly, the historical outcomes are dependent on human behaviour and the equilibrium of forces rather than on divine intervention. By the time we reach the Talmud, the Rabbis tell us that the age of prophecy (direct messages from Heaven) and of visible miracles is over. Such miracles are too ‘coercive.’ God wants humans to use their reason and emotions and choose to do the right thing out of free will and choice.” (Rabbi Yitz Greenberg essay: Do Not Rely on a Miracle: Parshat Beshallach 5781)

Embracing Mimouna

As I sit here amongst tonight’s festivities, surrounded by my loved ones, I am reminded of Rabbi Akiva’s wise words: “Do not do to your neighbour what you would not have done to yourself.” These words are significant in today’s society, where the world remains divided and filled with discord. Let us all embrace the joyous atmosphere of Mimouna and reflect on its powerful message of hope and redemption.

May this celebration inspire all of us to work tirelessly towards a future where freedom and justice prevail, and humanity can thrive in peace and harmony. We must remember that only our own actions can bring about this positive future. It is now up to you and me!

Footnotes:

  1. Francisco Gil-White and others have pointed out that these anti-Israel perspectives are associated with traditional geopolitical hostility towards Jews, Muslim/Jihadi ideology and the Progressive/Communist ideology born in the USSR, all of which pose challenges to democracy, freedom, and global cooperation and stability. For further exploration of this, I refer you to the work of Francisco Gil White: Geopolitical and Historical Insights on Jews, Israel and the Battle Against Antisemitism 

  2. Greenberg, Yitz. “Do Not Rely on a Miracle: Parshat Beshallach 5781.” Hadar.org, https://www.hadar.org/torah-tefillah/resources/do-not-rely-miracle.