The Story that travels with Us
There is something comforting and also challenging about the stories that travel with us.
Passover is one of those stories. The setting may change, the people with us may change, we certainly change. But the story is the same and so we encounter this narrative each cycle with new questions, new perspectives and new resolutions.
It is powerful to return to the same deeply introspective concepts year after year. And we come back to them collectively. In the space of twenty four hours, millions of people will sit down around a table, with their families, old friends or new friends, and in their own languages, with their unique rituals, all speak of OUR same experience.
In this collective recalling, we are forced to look at the moral state of humanity and more intimately, the state of our Selves.
Each of us are beckoned to ask whether we are truly free. In the Western world we have the privilege of living in the most golden of ages, in countries where our liberties are valued. But Judaism values an additional freedom, one in which we transcend our humanity and attend to our souls.
How are our spirits and psyches this year? How have we released ourselves from our own tendencies and addictions? Are we even aware of our “modernMitzrayims (Egypts)” and the paradigms that are holding us back?
There is an interpretation of the Seder that suggests we are each still living with a Pharoah inside of us. That “Pharoah” is the voice of fear that keeps us small. It may be the ego that suggests we are not worthy. It may be the psychological patterns we have innocently developed and which no longer serve us. It may be negative self talk, or the inclination to compare on social media. That “Pharoah” can be as blatant as a substance addiction or as subtle as the occasional trepidation that arises when we try something new.
These “Pharoahs” govern our attitudes and the way we live. Most detrimentally they will hinder our ability to soar, they cut us off from our unity, our stream of inspiration and the Source of Love.
But the story ends with Freedom. The Seder comes every year asking us to look deeply within and gently reminding us that there is another way.
So what is on the other side of living with a Pharoah? 3331 years ago the Jewish people obtained that complete body-mind-soul freedom through a seven week journey of spiritual refinement that began with the Exodus and which culminated with receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai.
Year after year we are given the same opportunity to leave behind our psycho-spiritual slaveries. This tradition which was given to our great grandparents, and which will be given to our great grand-children isn’t just here for us to recall an ancient story. It is an opportunity for real-time reflection. An essential, modern ritual to address the limitations and fears that live on in each one of us and to peel them away year after year.
Stories that travel with us, stay with us so we can keep learning their lessons.
May we all have a meaningful, revelational Pesach, and may we each experience a deep and lasting freedom within our souls, minds and hearts.
I cannot wait to see what is on the other side for all of us.
Chag Pesach Semeach