Freedom Is Relative

The Jews emerged from the shackles of Egypt with cuffs on their hearts and tied up minds. Tied to ideas that they were not worthy of being anything but a builder of buildings they will never get credit for. The Jews left hand-in-hand from Egypt, having witnessed miracles their parents would have only dreamt to see, unaware of how many more miracles they would be given.

And oh this sounds so beautiful but doesn’t Rashi say it was only a fifth of Jews who left? What about the Jews left behind?

The group of ragtag Jews left Egypt and walked through a defiance of physics, moving forward, watching their aggressors fall away into the water falling behind them.

The only reason that water split was because of one person who was crazy enough to do it, no one else had the guts to trust in God so deeply. Yet we are so scared of leaps of faith.

We joined together in front of the most beautiful mountain in the dessert and married God and he gave us everything, yet we refuse to remember how we share our soul.

I care about what they do because what they do is what we do. I cannot look at my brother and sisters and say what’s their trouble isn’t mine. I don’t care if it keeps me up at night, makes my heart hurt- we are one in the same.

This is supposed to be the time of freedom.

Our soul made an obligation to our people and our God. That choice that we made in that single moment is now eternal, immemorial.  

I have never felt less free.  

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I see the us building one long wall across itself, forcing ourselves into one category or another, making them fight for values without nuance. Cancelling people left and right, saying that if a person doesn’t understand your perspective, banish them.
People don’t belong in categories, in boxes. If I express a thought or pose a question, I am drawing a line in the sand. So I don’t say anything at all.

I feel like that random girl from Mean Girls: Can’t we all just be nice to each other? Aren’t the stakes just too high to be anything but nice?
I will always pick kindness over my “values”. My values have taught me the most important thing is kindness. I will try to pick kindness, every time.

I’m stuck.
I will always pick kindness.
I will always pick humility.

Somewhere in layers of murky consciousness I remember learning about karet and wondering how a human could possibly declare where the soul of another human is but I also know that we can’t do that anymore. So many of the things our people learn to be true do not have the ability to be reality at the moment- so why would I try to uphold a standard that cannot exist? How can I keep something so harsh that I do not understand- and no one wants to teach me anyways?

I will always pick this philosophy that I have to tread lightly on or it will crack like yachatz.
I cannot lie down on it, lean left on it, like a soft pillow and find comfort in it like fresh bread.

I know this is all over the place- my thoughts are all over the place. Somehow this is all connected to Pessach and the transition from galut to geula that we go through from magid, that we could go through in the Omer, from Pessach to Shavuot. I know this.

Freedom. Freedom from what? If we believe in an undeniable truth, could we really be free from seeking that truth? And how could we be free if we know we will never truly understand it?
Freedom is relative.

featured image created by yours truly