The Jewish people were in Egypt for 210 years, enslaved for half that time. Their parents knew hardship, they knew hardship, their children knew hardship. It was both a personal and a collective narrative that was part of the fabric of their existence.

The Jewish slaves had been constricted for so long that they were unable to conceive what it meant to be free. So they suffered in silence. They suffered in stillness. In the hush, they were mute.They suffered in silence

Like the slaves, sometimes we may be suffering in the quiet.

Like the slaves, sometimes we may find ourselves in voiceless, powerless, invisible stories.

Being a slave to an abusive relationship, work, desires, or even our own delusions is a painful place to be. Stripped of our rights and our autonomy, we can feel a real sense of bondage, even though we may not be building pyramids in Egypt.

So how did the Jews ultimately leave captivity?

According to Rav Dov Ber Pinson, the feat of leaving Egypt involved two important steps.

The first step the slaves took was to acknowledge their conditions and cry out.

Imagine the slaves starting to question their situation: “Maybe there is another way of being; maybe there is another way to exist.”

Just the possibility of this was enough. They opened their hearts and out came a hope. They opened their mouths and out came a cry.

When we take that first primal step and recognize that our backdrop is not serving us, that there is something dehumanizing about our situation, that there has to be something more . . . only then can we begin to release, to breathe, to cry. We open up.

The cry of the Jewish slaves pierced the atmosphere. It was a cry that was heard in the sanctum of the heavens. It was a cry that began a paradigm shift.

The second step the Jews took towards freedom—after they acknowledged, after they cried out—was to embrace and visualize a new reality.

What does embracing and visualizing a new reality look like?

It looks like the moon.The cry of the Jewish slaves pierced the atmosphere

The moon waxes and wanes. Sometimes, it’s there; sometimes, it’s not. Even when we don’t see it during its last phase, we understand that it still exists. We know that inevitably it will renew, regenerate and glow.

The “moon reality” is a G‑dly reality. It is the world of endless possibilities—of imaginings and actualities that are beyond what we see in front of us.

The first mitzvah the Jews in Egypt were asked to perform was to sanctify the new moon. Perhaps there was something about the qualities of the moon they needed to grasp. Maybe this was their key to unlocking years of servitude. Maybe this is a key to unlocking ours.

Living in the moon reality means transcending current conditions and embracing new ones. For the slaves, visualizing being unshackled—and all that came with that freedom—was a vital step towards tapping into a new actuality.

And then came G‑d’s outstretched arm. Leading them somewhere the slaves had never been. And the Jews trusted that it existed even though they had never experienced it.


Could we use this model to free ourselves of our own entrapments?

I think we can.

We may not see future potential in situations, but if we acquaint ourselves with the moon reality, we can start to understand that embedded within nature is the possibility for the miraculous, unexpected and inexplicable.

An outstretched arm awaits us. Opportunities await us. Freedom awaits us. Redemption awaits us. But we have to make an effort. We have to summon the courage to acknowledge the unacceptable conditions and visualize a new reality.

Ultimately, the slaves did leave Egypt. We, too, have that ability.

Wishing everyone a powerful and redemptive Passover!