A crude report came out of the UK about the leader of the Labour Party attending an anti-Israel seder conducted by extreme left wing Jewish activists. A special Haggadah for the occasion was prepared, which in short preached blasphemous and profane anti-Semitic diatribes against the Jews and against Israel, bringing to mind an event in Jewish History that besmirched our people.
It is well known that in medieval Europe, the blood libel against the Jews was a common excuse to kill or to try to forcibly convert Jews to Christianity. It had its origins, according to Eliyahu Kitov in his Book of Jewish Knowledge, Sefer Hatodaah, in Greek and in Roman literature, and spread its hatred to not only the Christian world of Europe but to Islamic countries as well, such as Syria. Briefly, Jews were accused of using the blood of slain children to make Matza. As a result of these false accusations, many thousands of Jews lost their lives.
In the eighteenth century, the Frankists, followers of the false messiah and apostate, Jacob Frank, engaged in a disputation with the rabbis in Lvov, Poland in regard to the blood libel, claiming that the Jews indeed were required to carry out these horrible deeds in order to bake matza. Their claim pointed to the acrostic in the Haggadah of Detzach Adash Beachav to be interpreted as a code to be used to justify the killing of Christian children to draw their blood in the baking of matza. According to Kitov, the rabbis, Rav Chaim Rappaport and the Baal Shem Tov, successfully refuted these false claims.
The damage perpetrated by the Frankists compounded by the anti-Semitic attacks against the Jews in Europe and elsewhere connected to the blood libel accusation brings into question the rabbinic statement as to why Hallel is abbreviated during Chol Hamoed and on the last days of Yom Tov. The rabbis tell us not to rejoice at the downfall of our enemies, referring to the Egyptians who drown at the Red Sea, for they are also creations of G-d. At the same time, we celebrate the death of Haman and the enemies who wish us harm in the Purim story.
One reason attesting to the lack of rejoicing at the drowning of the Egyptians is the fact that the Egyptian government provided a place of refuge for the family of Jacob during the famine that affected that country in the time of Joseph. Indeed, on exiting the country, the Hebrews are not to engage in vengeful attacks against their Egyptian slave masters. Instead, they ask the Egyptians to provide them with gold, silver vessels and clothing. On careful reading of the Biblical accounts, there is almost a feeling of empathy felt by the Egyptians to the departing Hebrews, as Moshe is considered to be a great leader in the eyes of the Egyptians.
However, in examining the Megilla accounts of Haman and his cohorts, there is no empathy, only enmity. The enemies of the Jews in the period of the blood libel accusations are interested either in annihilation or forced conversion of the Jews. At the same time, we condemn the Jews of the Frankist movement as well as those who perform hideous â€˜sedarimâ€™ in the UK, the intention of which is to besmirch the Jewish people and their heritage. Our enemies are without and within. Our Hallel is abbreviated because these enemies still prosper.