By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
When the Israelites left Egypt, in Hebrew, the Book, uses the plural tense to describe their departure from Egypt. “These are the trips, (in the plural tense) the children of Israel took when exiting the land of Egypt.” The Bible is telling us, that the going out, from slavery to freedom is not just a onetime act. Freedom from slavery, is an ongoing process. As long as we are human, every day is an opportunity to free ourselves from our current standing and condition to a level, higher than we were yesterday.
It is for this very reason, the Bible instructs us, that we must remember the exodus from Egypt every day of our lives. After all, what benefit is there to me, and why do I need to remember, every day, something that took place so many years ago?
The answer lies in that, the exodus has to be an ongoing passage.
How does a person end up in his own personal Egypt?
The books of mysticism explain, that everything we have in this physical world must have its roots in the spiritual world. It is this, underlying spiritual truth, and reality, that gives birth to the physical actuality. The same is also true within a person’s own life. The fact that he serves G-d in a particular way through his own choices, in other words, he is creating a certain spiritual reality in his own life, this becomes the background and blueprint for what later on becomes a person’s physical reality.
The most powerful force for serving G-d is, love. When we love G-d fully, with all our being, to the point that it is total and unconditional, “and you shall love G-d with all your being,” then, you will serve him when times and things are good, or the opposite, in your own estimation. After all, your love for G-d is not only when it serves your approval and liking.
Someone who is truly, totally and all the way in love, will love that person under all circumstances and not just when it is convenient and to their liking. When you are in truly love, the entire focus, is on the other one.
This powerful sort of relationship to the spiritual, elevates a person totally, away from his bodily wants and desires. It’s not that he doesn’t have any bodily needs, it’s that the needs of the body are only there to serve his love for G-d. Since he is spiritually completely dedicated, there will never be that possibility on a physical level that the person would ever become distracted and even worse, enslaved to the natural and emotional grips of the physical existence.
Egypt and what it represents spiritually, becomes a reality in this physical world only because G-d created the possibility of free choice. The possibility to limit ones dedication to the infinite and unfettered spiritual, with the so many distractions we have in this world, is what gives rise to the shackles, and the personal Egypt.
When a person decides to feed his own bodily pleasures, for its own sake, he diverts his soul towards his physical being, and the more he has given himself over, and surrenders himself to this side of existence, the more he has diverted, confined and enslaved his spirit to the clutches of the finite world of nature.
The Talmud says, “A tied up person cannot free himself.” A person must connect and draw from a strength and power greater than himself, if he is to untie his own shackles from past bad habits. This is what the eating of the Matza on Passover does for a person.
Matza represents the power of faith which is round and circular. Faith is not like logic, that a person, can neatly place his mind around its coherent common sense, and make heads and tails out of it. Faith is a power that connects the deepest aspects of one soul, with the deepest levels of G-d. The infinite within, with the infinite above.
Through the strength we derive from Passover, we are able to relive the freedom from the clutches of our own personal slavery, and experience our own personal exodus.
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