Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
Freedom is the ability to rejoice in the fact that despite our inner battles we have the vision and courage to continue to fight the battle for the Truth.
The Pesach Haggadah has a perspective in addressing this, a spiritual path blazed out for us. The arbah leshonos shel Geulah were composed by Hashem while we were bound in slavery. Within it G-d refers to four levels, four concepts of freedom. Each level is built on the previous level as with a tree; first we have the roots, then the trunk, branches and finally the fruit.
These four leshonos correspond with the four cups of wine we drink during the Seder. Each one toasts one of the languages of redemption and freedom.
Though it may sound redundant, these are actually four different languages of freedom. Let us examine them more closely.
1) Ve’hotzaysee – G-d promises that a time will come when we will be relieved of the burden of work. If all our energy is expended for sheer survival, it is as if we are still enslaved.
When Adam sinned, G-d deemed he must now work for his livelihood, pursue prey, prepare his food. Adam despaired. Now that he needed to provide his own sustenance, there would be less time for him to reach his potential. To live in order to provide had now become his major preoccupation. Today we are still enslaved by our schedules. We are so involved in our rigmarole that even were freedom offered us we would not know how to deal with it. When Moshe told the people they were to become free, they were unable to hear it; their tolerance level was shortened and they could not absorb the idea of freedom.
Spiritual and G-dly freedom means to have the time to breathe and to reflect; time to have a happy awareness of the self.
Even with less involvement in the rat race we are still not free. Still it is a prerequisite towards freedom, the roots of which can grow, eventually producing the fruit that man was meant to cultivate.
There is the story of a wagon driver, who carries his packages–his onus–on his back. A passenger asks him why he does this. The driver responds, “I want to make it easier for you by carrying the weight on my back.” The rider hears the absurdity and thinks: “Are not the packages and the riders and the wagon being carried anyway?!” Without that attitude we lose freedom. By trusting in Hashem we release ourselves of an onus, and then we can care for– carry– others as well, helping to unburden them.
So, freedom is learning to unburden ourselves. In the dedication and pursuit of freedom we can look to help any human to have dignity. A moral and spiritual elevation is predicated on this unburdening.
2) Ve’hitzalti estchem me’avodosaichem - And I will save you from the servitude. Man has difficulty making choices. We often determine our own system of free will and attempt to exercise it. Our choices tend to be self-serving, our priorities warped. If you supply someone with every luxury and give him everything, you are smothering his basic freedom. He does not have himself. He is not formed through choices he has made himself. He has got it all, perhaps, but robbed of his own self-development.
We need to keep alive the knowledge of God, to really know that we can have a relationship with Him. Chassidus says that if we are looking at the world correctly we cannot help but realize that we are in God’s constant presence. Once we experience the world in this way we enjoy a certain special freedom. Otherwise life is about avoiding (metaphoric) earthquakes, entirely vulnerable to nature’s whims.
When Moshe approaches Pharaoh he pleads for freedom for his people. Besides Shelach et ami, it says B’ni bechori Yisroel. Hashem proclaims that He has a personal, father/son, relationship with Israel. We can be close to God.
Jewish history is replete with bondage and slavery. So much so, that we might wonder why we even celebrate freedom. Are we really free? How can we lie back at the Seder and rejoice? Our lives are distinguished as we live with God’s presence, our choices made from a place of priority. This level of freedom can never be taken from us.
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Today is day six without a phone.
Besides for feeling slightly isolated, it’s not too bad.
I’ve been doing things that I know I would not be doing if my phone was sitting next to me, shiny screen beckoning.
Is anyone else alarmed by the way extended warranties are sold on just about anything and everything? It means one of two things – either someone has found a great way of getting consumers to part with more of their hard earned dollars or manufacturers have no faith in their own products. Neither of those options is particularly heartwarming.
As I described Gaon in a review in June 2001 (“In Search of Ancestors, Sculpture by Simon Gaon” at Yeshiva University Museum), his Bukharian Jewish roots are deeply embedded on both sides of his family, echoed in his early yeshiva education.
Let me begin by congratulating my dear machatunim, Soraya and Jay Nimaroff, on being the recipients of the Community Service Award at the Sderot Hesder Institutions 18th annual anniversary dinner.
Think of your issues this way: due to those different backgrounds, you have a “shovel” to deal with difficulties while he has a “spoon”.
Do you remember the good old days when kids were kids and there was never anything to worry about? Those days never really existed, but today there are issues kids worry about that weren’t issues for some adults. They include fear of bullying, natural disasters, divorce, and violence.
In Part I talked about celebrating 30 years of Regesh Family and Child Services providing services to children, teens and families. I shared the agency’s origin and the many lessons I have learned through this journey. As I mentioned, it is my hope that my experiences will add to your toolbox of life skills.
Unfortunately, a map of the Middle East with no mention of Israel is nothing new… It is surprising however, that the world’s largest publisher of children’s literature, Scholastic Books, has joined in this trend.
About six months ago my parents and I started discussing ideas for a mitzvah project in honor of my bat mitzvah. I wanted to do something unique that would be meaningful to me and also do something that my friends could participate in. Immediately I thought of an organization called Sharsheret.
“I’m disappointed that the agreement reached with Iran leaves our unfulfilled our ultimate objective: a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and related activities.
Southern NCSY will be holding a leadership training Shabbaton at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour December 6 and December 7. Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, will be the special guest speaker.
Is there a beginning and an end to the universe? What role can medical breakthroughs play in conception or genetic engineering? Can science help us pinpoint the end of human life? Does the soul emanate from the brain or vice-versa?
Last month’s column sketched the myriad of social programs in which the Orthodox American communal worker and leader Adolphus S. Solomons (1826-1910) was involved. Adolphus married Rachel Seixas Phillips (1828-1881), a descendant of colonial patriot families and together they had eight daughters and a son.
We recognize that the Exodus story in the Torah, like all biblical narratives, is more than just a historical or political tale of physical bondage and ensuing liberation, it is also a spiritual and psychological drama. The exodus represents the human potential to liberate itself from slavery — be it physical, mental, or spiritual.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/pesach-a-time-for-personal-redemption/2013/03/28/
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