I wanted to give over some beautiful insights that you could share at your Passover seder or other meals during the holiday. Doesn’t look like that’s happening. Instead I read a beautiful insight written by a dear friend and incredible woman, Vivi Deren, who is a shlucha in Stamford Connecticut, followed by one tidbit of a class I heard on Sunday night given by Rabbi Simon Jacobson, the author of A Spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer.
(In a nutshell, on the second night of Passover, we begin counting down 49 days until Shavous, trying to refine ourselves in anticipation of receiving the Torah. )
Here are Vivi’s poignant words:
…This really resonated with me (a thought adapted from the Rebbe’s teachings, by Tzvi Freeman): “The people never got used to Egypt. They never felt they belonged there. They never said, “They are the masters and we are the slaves and that’s the way it is.”
So when Moses came and told them that they were going to leave, they believed him.
Everyone has their Egypt. You’ve got to know who you are and what are your limitations. But heaven forbid to make peace with them. The soul within you knows no limits.”
May we each leave our personal “Egypt” and celebrate Pesach as free people!
Rabbi Jacobson’s words had the same tone. When sitting at the seder don’t take it for granted. Remind yourself, amid the wine, serving and noise from children how fortunate are we to have been born Jews and how fortunate are we to able to carry out our beloved traditions.
If there is a moment at your seder when you are able to speak, perhaps ask the people around the table to share what personal Egypt they are going to try to leave behind this year. Not everyone will want to speak, as this topic can get very personal. That’s not really the point. You will have planted a seed in each person echoing both Vivi’s and Rabbi Jacobson’s words – that each year we really are going out of our own personal Egypt.
May we celebrate Passover this year in peace and in good health. Next year in Jerusalem…