30 March 2006

Passing Over

Passover cometh, what with all of us in need of freedom - freedom of soul, freedom of body - freedom from thinking that we are already free.

The Ba'al Shem Tov talks about darkness within darkness, where it's so dark, you don't even know it's dark - you think it's broad daylight.

Awareness that we get trapped by our situations, our preconceptions, our very framework of understanding - this awareness arouses the taste for freedom, the desire for freedom.

It's all about wanting it.

If you don't want it, you can at least WANT to want it, and if that fails (R' Simcha Bunem tells us) you can WANT to WANT to want it.

May we all be blessed to come on out of slavery - to WANT freedom - to hang on to the life line that God throws us this month and get pulled on out of all of our traps and masters - physical, mental and emotional.

May it be his will...


oishkapipik said...

Alrighty chief I have a question that maybe I should have the answer to but don't!!! There is all this talk of freedom during Pessach time. Yes we were taken out of Egypt in which we were inslaved. Most of this freedom talk is surrounded by what happens a little later regarding receiving the Torah. I just don't remember the vort about how have 613 laws placed on his causes us to be free. Is it now that we are slaves to Hashem and that makes us free? Why the term "freedom" For a Jewish male what we are required to do.... "freedom is not the word I think of" In short why do we use this term "freedom" during this time??? If you feel the need for the Eliezar dictionary use of terms Miss Nibbles and myself would appreciate it!!

'laizer said...

It's a great question oishk'. A great question.

The way I see it is like this - you gotta' serve somebody (like Bob Dylan says.) The question is - who are you serving?

I knew a Ba'al Tshuva in Boston - big guy - used to play Football. He told me once that he would sit down and put away an entire pizza. He said, "Now that I say a blessing before I eat, I just can't do that anymore."

There's also the story that goes around about the frum Jew sitting on the plane next to the not-so-frum Jew. Meal time comes around. The not-so-frum Jew gets his regular meal, the frum Jew gets his kosher meal. The not-so-frum Jew can't resist. He starts talking about Freedom and being able to do whatever you like. The frum Jew looks back at him. "You think you're free? You really think you're free? I'll bet that you can't not eat that meal." What could our friend say? He really couldn't not eat it.

I don't like the phrase "Slave to God." I don't think it captures the spirit of the Hebrew עבד השם [Eved Hashem]. "Servant of God" works a little better, but maybe it's really deeper.

Think of what עבודה [Avodah] means to us on a day to day basis - praying, meditating, considering our actions. I'm thinking "God Worker".

God is the world we work in, the reality we encounter, the energy that flows through our body, and the material of the craft.

If you have to serve somebody - best to know that you are serving somebody. If you have to serve somebody, best that it be that somebody who is the place of the sum-total of all of reality.

Can we call connection to ultimate, immediate reality slavery?

Can we call it anything but Freedom?

That's what I'm thinkin'.

oishkapipik said...

I like it!! I guess you really can't call a connection to our maker slavery. Freedom as we know it than does not exist, only slavery. Meaning if you connect to anything else, thats slavery. True freedom is connecting to the almighty.

Being that we are mortal and finite can we really obtain true freedom?

No matter how hard we try to disconnect from the things that draw us back to being slaves we never can break from it???

p.s. did our good friend MC give you some papers to give to me??

'laizer said...

No papers, sorry...

I think we are involved in a continuous cycle. We have a small wordview, in slavery to this or that narrow concept. We break out of it.

Maybe in the movement we get a taste of ultimate reality.

Quickly (maybe immediately) we have to develop some sort of theory of reality that we can handle - we don't stay in ultimate reality. Even though this new vision is wider, it again becomes a sort of prison - it blinds us to the wider reality.

A truly free person, it seems to me, is in a constant state of motion. Every worldview is an occasion to ask what is beyond it...

yitz said...

This dialogue is so beautiful, it should be on the main body of your blog, not in the comments!

Just wanted to add the beautiful verse from King David [Tehillim/Psalms 116:16]:
אנה השם, כי אני עבדך; אני עבדך בן אמתך, פתחתה למוסרי
"Please [or if] Hashem, I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have opened my bonds."

In the words of the holy Rebbe Chaim of Tchernovitz, the "Sidduro shel Shabbos":
I ask of You, and plead with You, to appease You as to why I call myself Your servant, to a King like You. But what can I do? Perforce I am Your servant, for I am the son of Your maidservant, born into Your House. A child born to a maidservant is perforce a servant, even though he may not be a fitting servant for that house, he is a servant because of his mother. So it is with me - I am born into Your House, the House of Israel, and because of this I call myself Your servant...and I praise You and offer sacrifices of thanks to You, for I have merited greatness, great honor and high status, to be an Eved to the G-d of the World, Hashem, the Creator of the ends of the Earth."

'laizer said...

Awesome, Yitz...

Thank You.