Here we are, just a few days (or hours) from the start of Pesach, and other than check what’s availabe, what’s needed to purchase, day-to-day life continues and I figure that “by hook or by crook”, I’ll be able to create a phycical environment, especially here in Jerusalem, where I won’t eat Chametz for the week. But is that the only goal? Can I define or quantize the relationship I want to maintain with The Creator only by listing those things which aren’t, this time around, acting as a barrier? Aren’t there more elements to this relationship, positive rather than defensive?
Are there any limits to how free you will allow yourself to be/feel, beginning as Pesach arrives? Who, other than God, could possibly limit you? And why on earth would He possibly want to do that?
I hope and pray I’ll be able to go “all the way” when the great light will be revealed into our world oh so soon. Especially this year, when the approach to Pesach has, for me, been accompanied by health challenges (ultimately, no so serious or threatening, but I can utilize the fear and pain (all of it tolerable and on its way out, thank God)) to boost my insights and, perhaps my courage. I want to repeat and emphasize that this is not my situation, but I have been given a glimpse into the reality so I can imagine, if this were to be my very last message, my final Torah lesson to friends, students and family, even into the future, why hold back anything? Why not go for the deepest truths, most plainly stated, as I can? Tomorrow, I assure you (and myself), I’ll be back to hiding behind my usual pretensions of normailty and denial.
So, let’s go and please, hang on to your hats!
Pesach promises unconditionally, complete and total freedom. Whether or not we really know what that means, we stand on the verge of being completely connected with the Ultimate Will, the Ultimate Infinite beyond our imaginations!
For reference, let’s go back to what Moshe and Aharon repeatedly request from Pharoah, to go a three-day journey, in other words beyond their current reality, both in time and in place, to serve the Lord. Unsure what that means and what that will take, they ask to bring everything with them, with their cattle (symbolic of our Avoda, Service, at the Mishkan/Temple), with their children (their not-yet known/realized future, whatever it will be).
This might or might not, depending on where you are in life and your Jewish journey, and depending on the Jewish/rabbinic environment which can both enhance and block all our individual efforts (for example, we can completely forget the goal by focusing on, say, the “authority” of each hechsher (kosher certificate) on each thing we eat (how much of that is honestly Torah-driven, how much politically?) or should we celebrate that (if we’re indeed so lucky this year) to be surrounded by an almost limitless choice of kosher-for-passover food? Whether we can daven in a wide variety of synagogues and minyanim, or even on our own if that feels most authentic and effective this time around, or if we must (as we had in many historical times) surreptitiously sneak around in search for a small group of fellow-minded seekers and hope for the best?
The mere fact that this year, 5779, the vast majority of the world’s Jews enjoy at the very least the freedom to participate in the age-old-yet-timeless rituals of Pesach should compel us to make our own choices most consciously, filled with love and gratitude, and dedicated to bring, if not this year, then then next, complete freedom (i.e. complete attachment to The Infinite (not t be confused with the illusion of infinite choice) to ourselves, to our families, to our people, to all the world.
Even for those of us privileged this year to physically experience Pesach in geographical Jerusalem, may we next year merit celebrating and experiencing out connection with the Creator free of all obstacles and distractions (including our own insecurities and fears) in the total environment we merely hint at as Jerusalem.
L’Shana HaBa’a B’Yerushalayim. Gam HaShana HaZot.