Leaving Egypt For Good – The Inner Power Of Passover
As in the days when you left Egypt, I will show you wonders. Michah, 7:15
On the fifteenth of the Hebrew month of Nissan, Jews around the world will sit together with family and friends. They will sit at tables covered with white cloths, illuminated with candlelight, sparkling with silver, china and crystal. Throughout the night, they will taste the richness of wine, the bitterness of horseradish, and the subtle pure taste of matzah, the bread of faith.
On the seder night, we celebrate our liberation from slavery in Egypt, our redemption and freedom.
And yet, we are still waiting to be free.
When I was a small child, I lived in Chicago. We weren’t observant, but my grandparents were. And every Passover (Pesach), we would go to their apartment – my parents, my brothers and I, together with all my aunts, uncles and cousins, to celebrate the seder.
I remember my Uncle Artie and my Aunt Shiffy joking, the kids clowning around, my grandfather talking about the Exodus from Egypt and my grandmother saying: “Samuel, I’m hungry! Can you please hurry so we can eat?”
I never wanted my grandfather to hurry. I would have loved it if he had told the story of the Exodus all night long. Because from as far back as I can remember, at the seder – in the eating, the drinking and the telling of the story, I could feel the walls of the world shifting, opening and moving back. I could feel the presence of something else, something sparkling, something powerful, profoundly in motion, real and alive.
Many years have passed since my grandparents passed away. There were years – lots of years – when I didn’t go to any seder. There were years when I didn’t even know that Pesach had come and gone.
Then began my own journey back – back to my roots, to the roots of my grandparents and great-grandparents, to the roots of all the generations that came before. My journey brought me all the way back to the generation of the Exodus from Egypt, an Exodus which is still occurring today.
The slavery of Egypt was the most profound and all-encompassing that ever existed, as it was not only physical but spiritual as well. The Выкуп товара из Китая took place in the midst of thunderous miracles, and through it, both bodies and souls become free.
But that freedom did not last. True, the Exodus was the prototype for every redemption that would ever follow. It was a world-altering event that led to the birth of the Jewish nation and the giving of the Torah, the Divine mandate for all of humanity. But it was incomplete.
G-d took us out of Egypt, but He did not take Egypt out of us.
Kabbalah explains that the Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, means limitations, boundaries, constraints. In breaking out of Egypt, we were freed from those constraints, changed forever. From the moment Pharaoh let us go, there was no longer any force in the world powerful enough to keep a Jew from connecting with G-d. No force in the world.
But inside the Jew – that’s a different story.
Many times over the millennia of our history we were enslaved, oppressed, expelled – and much worse. The world has not been a hospitable place for the Jews. But in each of those situations, Jews kept the Torah. Though the world has tried to destroy the Jewish nation time and time again, the Jews have never agreed to disappear.
Nevertheless, Egypt remains alive inside the hearts of each one of us. It makes us feel small and unworthy. It makes us forget who we are and who we could become. It makes us believe that we have to blend in with those who seem bigger and more powerful than ourselves. It gives us the stubborn illusion that the world is solid and real, and that the intimate presence of G-d and our own souls is a fantasy or a dream.
This “slave mentality” is the cause of all the limiting beliefs, uncertainties and fears that are in our way. It makes us feel helpless and disempowered. It cuts us off from the miracles of our past, the potential of our future and our own truly infinite power to change our world for good.
It all comes down to this: Until we free ourselves from the inner Egypt we will never be truly free.
But once we do, we will never be slaves again – to anything, or anyone. Not even ourselves.
The generation that left Egypt ran up against the same basic problem again and again. They were conditioned to think like slaves. They feared the power of the nations who opposed them, and they could not fully internalize – trust and rely upon – their relationship with G-d.
But Kabbalah tells us a fascinating thing. It says that the souls of the generation that left Egypt will be reincarnated in our times, in the generation of the final redemption. It is the task of this generation to finally transform the inner Egypt and set ourselves and all our descendants free.
We have now entered the month of Nissan, the month in which the Exodus occurred. Nissan is called the Rosh Hashana, the new year, of redemption. The name Nissan itself contains within it the Hebrew word for miracle (Nes). And each Nissan, as it enters in, brings with it exactly that – a vast potential for miracles of redemption, a new level of potential that was never present in the world before.
You might sense this; you might not. But either way, it doesn’t change the facts. As the last generation of exile and the first of redemption, we were born with the slave mentality, but only in order that we can transform it once and for all. We are meant to come face-to-face with those feelings of smallness and helplessness, the fears and uncertainties, and the fact that the constraints and challenges of our physical world still seem all too real. But only so that we can finally leave them behind.
You have to feel these things, true. But you don’t have to believe in them. You don’t have to let them control your life anymore.
According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Moses of our generation, at this crucial and transitional time in history we can and must begin to use our new potential – our miraculous potential – in every aspect of our lives. It’s not enough to simply stop being slaves, to become a nation among nations. We must go much higher than that. Each one of us, through the intimacy and intensity of our connection with G-d, now has the power to connect with our own concealed essence as well. From that place, we become true partners in Creation. Not only will our lives become miraculous, but miracles will become a part of our very nature.
Here’s a little secret that will help. The truth is that everything is already a miracle. Since G-d is bringing this world into existence from divine “nothingness” at every moment, everything is intentional, everything is miraculous and everything is an alive, moving expression of its infinite Source. But this reality can’t just remain an idea. It must be internalized; become a part of our daily consciousness, our ordinary lives.
So let’s start with you.
What would change in your life if you connected to this reality and began to tap into a still-unexplored level of awareness and power? Would you notice the myriad and continuous expressions of Divine Providence in your life and world? Would you feel more connected and empowered? Bolder, more confident, less afraid?
What would your relationships be like? What would you be committed to? What would you create?
You don’t have to wait. In fact, waiting is the last thing you should do.
This Nissan, it’s time to approach each challenge and every opportunity of your life with a new belief, the belief that it is now within your nature to make miracles, to create redemption. This belief – and the actions that go with it – will change your world.
We don’t have to wait for next year in Jerusalem. As we sit by the seder table this year, may we be truly free!
Are you ready to start tapping into your inner light? To activate your power to create, to make real things happen, in the places where it matters most? Are you ready to start living a life that’s bigger, brighter, rich with purpose and power?
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