The Exodus from Egypt was the greatest journey in human history. Not only was it a journey undertaken by an entire nation, an entire generation, it is also a journey that never really ends. The Bible recounts the passage through the wilderness over three books of the Bible, most of what is called the Torah. It lies underneath so much of the biblical literature and the consciousness of the Jewish people is rooted in the experience. Yet, the power of the Israelite journey to Israel, the Promised Land, resonates for everyone, in every generation.
The last couple of years we have been in the wilderness. Unable to embark on our normal ways, we have been stuck inside our homes, but outside of our promised land, incapable to even engage in our journey.
Passover is our yearly festival of freedom. We remember the original Exodus from Egypt and celebrate the journey that lies ahead of us, the tremendous possibilities that life offers us almost on almost a daily basis. It also reminds us that some of us were not on the right path, but we have an opportunity to have a fresh start.
This year we come back to the holidays during the Great Reset. We recognize some things weren’t right before and we didn’t even realize it until the pandemic upended our lives. Many of us have now reprioritized our lives, found ourselves spending time with the people we really need to spend time with. We developed bonds with friends and family on a deeper level, and this was indeed a blessing.
The Bible teaches us the way in front of us will not be easy. Many of us, just like our ancestors, will be wanting to go back to Egypt. To some extent, we may become willingly enslaved.
We must fight the impulse to turn back to the familiar, simply because it was familiar. How often do we stay in a bad situation simply because we fear the unknown? We become trapped, victims of a self-created bondage.
The Egyptian experience taught us that we must never sacrifice our freedoms for the familiar. The way things were does not have to be the way things have to be. We learned the hard way that there is some baggage we must leave behind. Think about what you don’t need to carry anymore, what do you really need on the journey to the Promised Land?
This springtime allows us to have a fresh start, to see the possibilities that lie in front of us. I pray that we can seize the potential that our freedoms allow us, living in our amazing community. This year I hope our journeys will be safe and healthy, and we feel the strength of those who care for us and the love of the Infinite Source of Mercy.
Rabbi Mark Blazer is the rabbi of Temple Beth Ami in Santa Clarita.