Let freedom ring!
That’s how I feel right now as I’m putting the last touches for our Seder tonight. I made my gefiltefish (from scratch, if my mother-in-law was alive today she would be grinning from ear to ear seeing her Sephardic daughter in law elbow high in ground fish mixture!), seven kinds of charoset (yes, I am a bit insane). Together with my Israeli spiced kebabs, my salads and of course, two kinds of soups to choose from (because choice is important especially on this holiday), tonight will be tasty and memorable!
In a 2013 pew research, it was noted that attending a Seder is an extremely common practice. Over 70% of Jews participate in a Seder (while only 53% fast on Yom Kippur, clearly demonstrates that Jews love food!)— which clues us that the story of Passover is appealing to most Jews!
It is the holiday that the people of Israel received their physical freedom. They are finally free after being slaves in Egypt as noted in the book of Exodus.
In Hebrew the word to be free is chofshi חופשי Interestingly, the word in Hebrew to search is l’chapes לחפש.
Both share the same root, the same three letters! לחפש, חופשי= ח.פ.ש
Knowing that in Hebrew, clues us that the words freedom and to search (for something) are related. In order to be free, somethings need to be discovered. Sometimes freedom is not that evident and clear to the naked eye. Freedom is not something that we can take for granted. It’s not something that is natural in the world. Freedom is (or can become) a reality when we look for it. When we search for it. Actions are needed on our behalf for freedom to ring!
Can you think of a story in your life when you felt you were not free, that perhaps you were in imaginary shackles? How did you lift yourself up from that feeling? How did you free yourself? What were the actions that you took, and able to implement to elevate your situation?
I think freedom can be seen as the desire to feel fully alive. Personally, for me, being free allows me to live out my purpose. Freedom allows me the treasured gift of time to reflect how I want to be in this world.
From its inception, Judaism values freedom in oneself and freedom in our society. A slave, as we learn from the bible cannot stay a slave forever. They must be released after seven years.
Let’s not forget, however, that with freedom comes responsibility! And a lot of it, as we look inward at our own lives and outward at the world around us!
(Note to self!) Trying to teach this to a teenager may leads itself to some interesting discussions (as teens’ definition of freedom is “Let’s do nothing because we can”), but don’t give up – it is worth the journey!
Happy Pesach, everyone. And as always—love to hear from you!