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Have You Slaughtered Your Sheep Yet?

Have You Slaughtered Your Sheep Yet?

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It was less than a week before the promised day of freedom. Moshe gathers the people and shares with them the following1:

“Go tie a sheep to your bed and leave it there for four days. It will be there when you go to sleep (good luck with that!) and when you get up. You will hear theThe smell of the sheep will permeate your homes baaaaaa for about 100 hours nonstop. The smell of the sheep will permeate your homes. After all that, you’ll take the sheep, roast it and eat it on the eve of the 15th of Nissan. At midday the following day you will leave Egypt as free men!”

How’s that for freedom prep? Have the odor of sheep in your home and the feel of her licking your feet as you sleep for four nights... then slaughter and roast it... then go free! What is the meaning of this sequence? Most importantly: what relevant lesson can we take in our lives here and now?

The commentaries explain that the ancient Egyptians used to worship their sheep as gods. Sheep were holy stuff in the land of the pharaohs. The Jews’ first act of freedom was to show themselves and the Egyptians how to move on from a pathetic pagan belief-system.

Tying a sheep to the bed for four days was a process in letting go of all that was important until now, and standing up defiantly and declaring: We no longer take you seriously. What was god until now is food tomorrow.

It was step one in taking the slavery out of the Jew. The first step to freedom is taking those beliefs that have enslaved us and slaughtering them!

Each and every one of us holds on to ideas, emotions and habits that are undermining our inner purity and potential.

Whether it’s an emotional blockage, “if I show vulnerability then I’ll be considered weak!”

An intellectual clog, “I cannot listen to your point of view, because if you vote for the other party then you are an idiot and not worthy of my time!”

Or a habitual dysfunction, “when I get angry then I lose control and will say whatever my immaturity spews forth – too bad on whoever gets in the way of my wrath!”

Pesach comes and teaches us: Take that pagan god – your own reeking sheep – and tie it to your bed for four days. Live with it. Breathe it. Stare at it morning, noon and evening. See it for it what it is – a pathetic alternative to meaning and genuine spirituality. It’s filling your inner home with noise and unpleasant smell! Yuck!

Then, after you have taken ownership over the hiccups ofLive with it. Breathe it. your potential, and faced the ramifications of the unhealthy and untrue patterns of paradigms, feelings and behaviors; Get up and slaughter that sheep! Roast it well! And then eat it! Relish the taste of dysfunctionality defeated.

Take the roadblocks and move them off the GROWTH road. Pesach is the opportune time to choose to be bigger than our petty ego, to be smarter than the foolishness that makes us insecure, jealous, defensive, clogged and mediocre, and to be freer than the slavery mindset that keeps us in Egypt year after year.

This year let us sacrifice our Pesach sacrifice, and celebrate Pesach for what it is all about – freedom.

Footnotes
1.
Midrash on the verses in Exodus Ch. 12
Rabbi Levi Avtzon lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with his wife Chaya and their children. He is associate rabbi and director of outreach at the Linksfield Senderwood Hebrew Congregationl.
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