How are you enjoying Passover so far? Wherever you may be, I hope you are having a wonderful time.
Passover is a festival of liberation. We became free people, no longer enslaved to our Egyptian masters.
Being enslaved has two parts to it. There is the physical circumstance of slavery—the torturous existence of being subjected, day after day, to the merciless whip of the taskmaster. But there is also psychological slavery—the slave’s mindset and conviction.
Mitzrayim denotes limitations, which we all have to certain degrees. For some, that may mean severe financial problems; for others, it could be serious health issues. And for still others, it may be the burden of an arduous psychological environment. These are the circumstances that constrain us.
But then come our own internal shackles. Even once freed from the abuse or suffering of our past, we may still be living a life inhibited by our own fear, pain or trauma.
We may become freed from our external Egypt, but if Pharaoh has come out with us, essentially, he continues to have full control, mastering our psyche. Our specific set of circumstances may have improved, but our life’s tumultuous inner terrain remains the same.
On the seventh day of Passover, we celebrate the splitting of the Red Sea. Even once they had been redeemed from Egypt, the Jews remained fearful of the Egyptian’s great might and power. Only after the sea split—and they saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore—could they finally experience complete liberation.
It’s easy to think of ourselves as free when we’ve overcome an externally imposed limitation. We may be shocked, however, to discover that Pharaoh is still pursuing us even after we’ve escaped his Egypt. But the abuser closing in on us is the Pharaoh that we’ve allowed to accompany us.
So how do we eradicate these demons from our inner world? How do we transcend the personal Egypt within ourselves?
By splitting our inner sea.
To split the sea, G‑d “turned the sea into dry land.” Deep beneath the sea water lies buried a vibrant, beautiful inner life. The sea is a metaphor for material existence, which hides the G‑dly life force that maintains our existence. To transform the sea into dry land means to reveal that neither we, nor our world, are separate from G‑d; that G‑d alone has full control over our lives and knows what’s best for us.
Only by revealing our deep inner truth—our infinite power coming from our infinite connection to the Divine force within us—can we hope to attain our complete liberation. Only then can we fully leave the demons of our past behind us.
Wishing you a very liberating chag!