Are You Really Free?
Most of us are familiar with the story of Passover. The Jews escaped slavery at the hand of the Pharaoh by Moses with the help of God. Once escaped, they made their way to the promise land. It took them 40 years to get there. A whole generation needed to die in the desert before they were ready to be a free nation. Why did it take so long to become truly liberated? Surely the freedom of the desert was better than the mistreatment of Pharaoh. The truth is, they didn’t inwardly accept the freedom given to them. They were unable to let go of the old and familiar despite the hardship it caused. The same can be said of our lives. If we take a moment to look close enough, we can see our own inner enslavement. Some of us are slaves to money, power, or status while others are slaves to validation, attention, and false identity. The story of Passover is an opportunity to ask ourselves, “Are we ready to commit to our inner freedom and do the work that freedom demands?”
Passover and Easter both celebrate the human journey towards liberation.
We all yearn to be free socially, politically, economically, emotionally and spiritually. Freedom, life’s most cherished gift, is also the hardest to achieve. The Passover story is a powerful metaphor. We are all, to some degree or another, imprisoned by our fears and defensiveness. We become slaves to our cravings, addictions, and insecurities. The good news is that there is a Moses, a spark of the Divine, in each one of us. We are all journeying through a “desert,” towards our personal promised land.
In the recounting of the Israelites redemption, Moses, on behalf of God, asks the Pharaoh for the people’s freedom over and over again. “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” The Torah reminds us that our freedom is directly tied to our responsibility and our mission to create a better world and serve others.
This story tells us that our ultimate job is not just to be liberated, but to be liberators.
Easter tells the story of Jesus, who was crucified for challenging the authorities by calling himself the son of God. According to the story, he was buried and 3 days later the tomb was empty with his body nowhere to be found.
The story of Easter is also rooted in the idea of liberation. The resurrection story of Christ, Yeshua of Nazareth, an enlightened spiritual teacher, provides us with a moving lesson. We are called to realize that we are not our body or our carnal mind.
We are spiritual beings, eternal and indestructible. Isn’t this realization the ultimate freedom?
We’re here to realize our true nature, express the best in us, and taste the freedom of our eternal spirit. This is our gift, our birthright, and our human responsibility. I say let’s embrace, celebrate, and commit to that.