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The Festival of Liberation

The Festival of Liberation

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We are once again, thank G‑d, approaching and preparing for the holiday of Passover, when we remember and celebrate the freedom we were granted by Almighty G‑d in the past, while we eagerly anticipate to be emancipated now.

It is, of course, true that the original experience of Passover gave each of us in all generations the potential for a complete and true freedom so that we can never return to a Mitzrayim (enslavement in Egypt) lifestyle again. Still, we are bound in the shackles of our two-millennium exile. Our Sages tell us that, "in every generation, every Jew must see himself as if he had been liberated that day from Egypt."

Liberation is a relative concept, and is not limited to the physical realm. Indeed, one may be physically "free" - yet be trapped emotionally and spiritually.

Our ancestors needed to be freed not only from the physical yoke of their Egyptian taskmasters, but also from the moral and spiritual quagmire of Egyptian culture. Indeed, our Rabbis teach us that, at the time of the Exodus from Egypt, the Jews had descended to the very lowest of the 49 levels of spiritual impurity. If they would have remained in Egypt even one more moment they would have been eternally doomed to impurity, G‑d forbid.

Can one redeem himself from such darkness?

Well, the Jews managed to raise themselves from almost total degradation, to heights never since achieved. In only 50 days, they became worthy enough to stand at Sinai and receive the Torah directly from Almighty G‑d.

How does one achieve such levels? By accepting the sovereignty and authority of our Creator, by recognizing the folly of man-made ideals, and through the study of Torah and performance of Mitzvahs.

Upon sincere reflection, we all find mistakes that we have made, malfunctions in life that we all pay for one way or the other. Dwelling on the past can only lead to a feeling of futility unless we have proper remorse, make positive commitments and transform our behaviors.

We must forge ahead - and not just sit back wistfully hoping that things will be better. We must all take daily action to reach our redemption - to step out from our own individual "Egypt" and strive to reach our own "Sinai."

May we all strive together to reach the highest levels - levels that are not beyond any of our grasp, which take much effort for all of us to achieve, but is ultimately most worth-while.

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