“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
פסח Pesach 2017 has concluded. I hope everyone’s was blessed. I learn things every year, and this year I did some deep reflecting and thinking, just sort of processing some of the things I read.
While I realize my life, and our lives in America today, have little if anything in common with the Israelites held captive in Egypt all those years ago, in the Haggadah, it says “In every generation each individual is bound to regard himself as if he personally had gone forth from Egypt”. Hmm, I’ve never been to Egypt, and I have no desire to go there now. But I have watched The Mummy movies several times. Even the old black and white one. But that’s not what it means. Turns out, we all have our own Egypt, Pharaoh and Moshe.
In each one of us there is an Egypt and a Pharaoh and a Moses and Freedom in a Promised Land. And every point in time is an opportunity for another Exodus.
Egypt is a place that chains you to who you are, constraining you from growth and change. And Pharaoh is that voice inside that mocks your gambit to escape, saying, “How could you attempt being today something you were not yesterday? Aren’t you good enough just as you are? Don’t you know who you are?”
Moses is the liberator, the infinite force deep within, an impetuous and all-powerful drive to break out from any bondage, to always transcend, to connect with that which has no bounds.
I wonder, how many of us are in chains of one sort or another? Work situations, relationship situations, health situations, financial situations? There are no limits to the things that can bind us. I might take a minute to mention that former Congressman Bob McEwen points out that when you look at the effect of taxes, working and not being allowed to keep the fruit of your labor is slavery. For those fans of Hillary and Bernie.
How could I make such a statement in the middle of talking about Pesach? Well, because Rabbi Tsvi says
Tell it in first person, in the now. Don’t say, “Long ago, the ancient Hebrews…” Say, “When we were slaves in Egypt, the perverse socio-bureaucratic system thoroughly crushed every individual’s sense of self-worth!” Everything that happened there parallels something in each of our lives. We are truly living it now. We are simply examining our own lives in the dress of ancient Egypt.
See? It’s relevant!
There is a point during the Seder where the youngest child present asks four questions. Hmm, would this present a problem? Cowgirl kitty refused to ask the right questions. No problem, Rabbi had the answer.
No children? Let an adult ask. There’s just you? You be the child, and G‑d will be the father. While you’re at it, ask Him a few other difficult questions for us all.
Oh, I’m good with this! I’m so good with this! What’s more? We’re not limited to four!
Part of the Seder is eating Matzah. My Kosher for Pesach Matzah came from Israel. I’ve been eating Matzah since last Monday night, the 10th. This is a mitzvah, a commandment. Yep, until there is another Holy Temple, this is the only mitzvah we can eat. And according to Rabbi, this is an incredibly powerful thing. An amazing thing. Matzah has been called the bread of faith or Emunah.
Emunah is when you touch that place where your soul and the essence of the Infinite Light are one. It’s a point that nothing can describe. Where there are no words, no doubts, no uncertainty, no confusion—nothing else but a magnificent oneness before which all the challenges of life vanish like a puff of vapor.
I should have ordered like a gazillion cartons (5 boxes to a carton) of this!
We too began buried in Egypt, all but losing our identity. But that furnace of oppression became for us a firing kiln, a baker’s oven, the womb from whence we were born in the month of spring. In our liberation from there, we brought our fruits of freedom to the world.
Miracles happen when Divine energy from beyond the cosmos enters within. Why did miracles happen in Egypt? Because we believed they would. Those who didn’t believe in miracles saw only plagues. To see a miracle, you need an open heart and mind, open enough to receive the Infinite. That is the opening we make when we thank G‑d for the miracle of our food.
Aren’t these amazing thoughts to ponder and ruminate on?
And then, there’s the miracle of the parting of the Sea of Reeds, the obstacle.
But the greatest of barriers turned into the greatest of miracles. Not only did the sea become an ambush for the enemy, but also a path that led the children of Israel to their ultimate freedom.
So it is with every obstacle. When you’re out to do the right thing, the entire world is there to assist you—including the most formidable threats, the most impossible challenges. The bigger they are, the more impossible to traverse, the greater the miracle they will provide.
That is the true reality of everything in this world: to serve you on your mission. What is your mission? To make this world miraculous.
And obstacles are miracles waiting to happen.
So, I think we all struggle with slavery of some sort, perhaps this will give you some hope, and maybe a different perspective. The children of Israel went into Egypt as 12 different tribes, and came out a nation. These are just some of the things that really struck me this year, and I’m still chewing on some of them. Unlike the matzah which I am now loading with my leftover yummy charoset which I munch right down.
I’ll leave you with one final Pesach thought, because A) it’s a really good one, and B) it has a picture of a camel.
Got the popcorn?
Here’s a song I learned in school, I love this version. I know it’s by a group called Tractor’s Revenge, but the words are wonderful. I have it on my phone, so I sang it at the end of my Seder.
It has the meanings in English, it’s wonderful!
And lastly, just for fun. Pesach Funk. “Freedom! Oh man! Gonna live my life the best way I can!” Boy can they dance!