Passover, which always begins on the eve of the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan, is probably the most famous Jewish holiday of the year. It’s the time when the Hebrews were freed from their centuries-old bondage in Egypt and headed into the desert. Destination: the Holy Land.

What is less known is that the Passover season is also the time when the Jews arrived in Israel 40 years later.

It’s a story worth telling:

On the 10th of Nissan, just over a month after Moses passed away and was buried by G‑d on Mount Nebo, the Jewish people (now under the leadership of Moses’ disciple and successor Joshua) crossed the Jordan River westward into the Holy Land.

Imagine the thrill. The dream of hundreds of years—eight generations—was finally materialized.

Five days later, they would commemorate Passover in Israel in style and grandeur.

But before the Jews could prepare for Passover, there was something that needed urgent attention. For various reasons, the Jews refrained from circumcision during their sojourn in the desert. The morning after their arrival—the 11th of Nissan—G‑d commanded Joshua to personally circumcise all Jewish males.

According to tradition, it takes three days to recover from circumcision. Passover eve was in three days. Hence, they all needed to be circumcised on the very same day!

After Joshua finished the mammoth task, G‑d said: “Today, I’ve rolled away the [spiritual] disgrace of Egypt from upon you.” Finally, 40 years after they had left their physical bondage, they were released from their spiritual bondage. G‑d had taken the Jews out of Egypt; now the Egypt was out of the Jews. Now they could be free in their own land.

Millennia later, this special day of the 11th of Nissan brought forth a new energy of freedom. It was on this day in 1902 that Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson—the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—was born.

One of the greatest figures in Jewish history, he dedicated his life to bringing the Jewish soul out of bondage and into the freedom of Judaism. After accepting the mantle of leadership in 1951, he went from leading a small group of followers in Brooklyn to spearheading the most influential Jewish movement in the world. With dedication, love, and wisdom, he ignited the souls of millions. It is no exaggeration to say that every living Jew has been affected positively by his light.

His passing 25 years ago did little to dampen his influence and reach. On the contrary, his impact on the world today is more wide-reaching than ever before. Millions around the world are inspired by his teachings to increase their Jewish involvement and bring the light of G‑dliness to all of humankind.

Today, 3,291 years after the Exodus, the journey to freedom continues through each one of us. We are near the finish line, about to reach our destination—the final redemption, heralded by the coming of the righteous Moshiach!