My move for this week has been preparing for and celebrating Passover with my family – a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people leaving the slavery of Egypt to be free to fulfill our purposes in this world. The participation and help of all of my family has been immense, each in their own way, and greatly appreciated!
The special Passover “Seder” meal the first night(s) of Passover are filled with symbolic items and actions that help us walk through the history of our people’s experiences as being slaves, of crying out to The Creator for help, and His rescuing us and bringing us to freedom. As is said during the seder, “In every generation, a person is obligated to regard himself as though he had come out of Egypt… It was not only our ancestors whom the L-rd redeemed from Egypt, but He redeemed us with them as well.” The symbolism presented on the table in front of us during the meal (and all of the hard work preparing for the holiday) set the stage, but to truly feel the redemption, we need introspection.
So often we feel like we are “A rose among thorns.” That harsh conditions around us limit our freedom. Passover is a time to look inside ourselves and realize how much we are “a slave to ourselves.” I’ve heard that in the process of training elephants, the baby elephants were chained, at their ankle, to a post when young. As they grew big, they could easily have escaped the chains through their great strength, but didn’t even try out of memory of not being able to when they tried in their youth. How much are we held back by our perceptions of our limitations? Are the thorns really there? Maybe yes, and maybe no. Either way we need to realize that there is a way to get past them, blossom to our full potential, and share our beautiful contributions with the world around us. We need to not allow past experiences blind us to the possibilities now and in the future.
As we conclude the Seder with the words “Next Year in Jerusalem”, it is my heartfelt wish that this be a year that we break out of the confined image we have ourselves. That we realize that we can call out to, and tap into, the infinite strength of The Creator. That we recognize the incredible potential we have within ourselves. And, that we can live fulfilling our purpose in this world – be that in Jerusalem, in our world, in our communities, in our family, in our jobs, or, and most importantly, in ourselves.
Health, strength, happiness, and success to you in all of your worthwhile endeavors!