Monthly Archives: April 2011

The time of our freedom

Pesach is z’man cherusanu, the time of freedom.  Rav Hirsch explains that until the time of Hashem taking us out of Egypt, all cultures had slaves.  It was how the world worked back then.  B’nai Yisrael were the first “free people”.  The concept of freedom, prior to our Exodus was something that the world didn’t understand or couldn’t even comprehend. 

With this idea from Rav Hirsch in mind, I look upon the next week and especially the seder nights an opportunity to anchor myself to a freedom that is true.  The freedom to recall and bring to action the unique role of being both a child of Hashem and also a servant.

We are all tied down.  This can be both a positive and a negative.  Being tied down to the role of a spouse and a parent is a wonderful bracha.  Those responsibilities center us and become a lifeline to us.  Feeling tied down to one’s job or economic situation can have a terrible effect on a person.  True freedom is when we can decide what we want to put of strengths into.

We can look at someone who lives a carefree life as being the most “free” of all men.  However, making the choice not to play by any one’s rules and taking the “road less traveled” doesn’t always show true independence.  To rebel l’shem rebellion, just to say that you are your own person isn’t always an example of freedom (there are those that, mamesh, rebel against society or a culture, in the name of Heaven, but I’m not writing about this).

So I sit at my laptop, knowing that in twenty-four hours, I’ll be at my own seder with my wife, that I love and still have no clue how she puts up with me, my three children, that are each different and still all peas in the same pad, and my brother, who has traveled from NY to be with us, with family.  I hope that they will have nice memories of our sederim and I will try to explain that the real freedom is to choose how you want to live your life.  For me, based on my traditions, what I learned in yeshiva, from rabbis, and what I have read, it’s a freedom that boils down to what is my purpose and how can stay on track every moment of my lfe.

Next time you lose it, read this

Poser, hypocrite, mussar-Marrano, wannabe.  These are few labels that linger in my head right now, regarding myself.  Assessment that one blew it is part of the risk of having “free choice”.  Like my Hoover vacuum, I just suck it up and sometimes change the bag.
 
I attempt to be a “good Yid”.  I make it minyan at least twice a day (working on 3 times), I think about my brachos when I make them, I learn (although not as much I should), yet I fall short.  Part of, if not the real attraction I’ve always had to Mussar is that I’m not always a nice person.  I usually keep myself in check but some days are easier than others.  I am a so-so husband and am OK Abba most of the time.  Usually I’m fairly patient with people (family included) but yesterday wasn’t one of those days.  I was a creep.  Lost it big time.  There’s not much to say or write when all of the effort you make to treat others as betzlem Elokeim seems to fly out the window when you are in a bad mood.

“I’m sorry,” only goes so far, which is why I’m thankful that I have the Rambam’s Hilchos Teshuva to give me real steps, especially the whole until-you-are-in-the-same-place-and-don’t-make-the-same-mistake-you-haven’t-really-done-teshuva step.  When it come to relationships, especially with those we love, there is constant retooling and recalibration, so those opportunities to see if you really did teshuva are plenty.
 
I get it.  Chometz is akin to the Yetzer Hora.  So, I guess I’ve been deep frying Jason’s Flavored bread crumbs in Japanese bread crumbs and then just breaking them for the heck of it, b/c I feel like my Yetzer is on overdrive.  Time to turn of the engine and coast into the service station.
 
 
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