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Parshat Shemot: The Never-ending Exodus

01/02/2024 09:29:49 AM


Rabbi Rudin

I’ve heard that every person has a central metaphor through which they see life.  For some, life is a journey, for others a quest and for others perhaps a climb, a circus, a dream or even a feast.

In this week’s Torah portion, we are introduced to what I think is Judaism’s central metaphor: the Exodus from Egypt - from slavery to freedom, from boundaries to limitlessness, from chaos to purpose and from drudgery and darkness to a meeting with the Divine.

Hasidic thought is filled with statements like we each have our own personal Egypt.  In fact the word Mitzrayim, Egypt in Hebrew, literally means “straits” - perhaps the Nile River valley originally but by extension, anything that limits us, hems us in, stops us from being and doing what we are meant to do and to be.

Even though we share the journey with our people, each journey is individual.  When G-d spoke at Sinai, G-d spoke to each of us in a different way, a different light that was somehow unified but not uniform.

As we begin this year of 2024: and it’s impossible for me to not immediately add may 2024 be better than 2023! - and in Jewish terms, as we reread and relive the Exodus story of liberation, I believe we are each called upon to ask ourselves to look at our lives “through heaven’s eyes” - what are the things that entrap and enslave us, what does freedom look like to each of us and what, if we silence the incessant din of obligations, distractions and demands that surrounds us and the entangling thoughts that whirl in our own minds, is the call in our souls?

We do not have to drop everything, burn our credit cards, grab our backpacks and set off on our Exodus – instead, we have to do something much more difficult: we must listen to the vision and take only the first step.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Civil New Year!

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784