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Let it Go: A Pesach Reflection

Let it Go: A Pesach Reflection

I choose to believe that we all have been enslaved at some point in our lives. Perhaps we have been chained to our fears, worries, and doubts. We may have faced addictions, coped with hardship, and sunk to the lowest depths of all that keeps us down. I also believe that we can overcome our bondage with the love and support of friends and family, the glimmers of hope and light that shine upon us when we need it most. With the awareness that we might be slaves, we can stand up to our "inner Pharaohs" and demand as Moses did: Let me go.

This Passover, I will travel to San Francisco with 25 amazing teenagers from the Westport, CT area. There is no doubt that we will embrace the warmth after a frigid and snow-filled winter, and play tourists – attend a Giants game, tour Alcatraz, and take the photo of the Golden Gate Bridge that brings us back to memories of watching Full House on Friday (and Tuesday) nights. However, we are going to San Francisco for a much greater reason: to do sacred work. We plan to help repair the house of an elderly homeowner, serve meals to the homeless, poor, and hungry, clean the shore-line of the Bay Area, package nutritious food for low-income residents, sort and pack medical supplies to be shipped to hospitals and clinics who care for the poor, and work with the homeless and low-income youth.

Our week in San Francisco is jam-packed, filled with opportunities for us to be the glimmers of hope and light for others – the glimmers that we, ourselves, may have needed in our darkest moments. We will become a voice for those who are afraid to speak. We will help people be let go from their bondage – their hunger, their poverty, their homelessness. And, even though we may not be able to help them fully overcome these "Pharaohs," we will help them walk in the direction of the Sea of the Reeds, so that one day, with an outstretched arm, they can cross that sea to a place of wholeness, completeness, and peace.

There is no doubt that I, as well as my teens, will be transformed this Pesach. As we enter this season of redemption, I offer some questions that may allow all of us to think about ways to overcome our inner Pharaohs and free ourselves from our own bondage:

  1. What ultimate freedoms do we have?
  2. What sources of support and guidance do we have to help overcome whatever enslaves us?
  3. What gives you hope?
  4. What do you do to take care of yourself?

May we all let go during this Pesach – and may we all find the freedom within.

Rabbi P.J. Schwartz is the rabbi educator at Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos, CA. He is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle, a special education teacher.

Rabbi P.J. Schwartz

Published: 4/11/2014

Categories: Jewish Holidays, Passover
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