When you gotta go, you gotta go – and when you wanna leave Egypt, you gotta make a run for it – there is no time to lose. According to the sages, Egypt is the archetype of limitation – and each one of us is bound by both internal and cosmic constraints.
We enter this world with a soul-makeup that profoundly influences our spiritual, intellectual and emotional inclinations – predisposing us to be a person of expansiveness or constraint, a walker or a talker, a doer or a watcher, an actor or a reactor.
Our head space is influenced by our home town environment, cultural assumptions and biases – and our surrounding family and bio-chemical makeup further imprints our process of being in the world. All of these factors subconsciously guide the choices we make on a daily basis and the way we interact with others.
Being mostly unconscious of this underlying structure, we live a reactive life rather than proactively creating the world we live in.
“The Exodus from Egypt” means becoming consciously aware and freeing ourselves of these limitations so that we can live the infinite life we are capable of and intended to experience.
The Passover Seder is the structural blue print and escape plans from the prison of constriction – our way out.
And since leaving Egypt is a state of mind we strive to manifest each moment of our lives, we must continuously re-enact it – not only on Passover night at the Seder, but each day we are graced with the privilege and blessing to be here on earth.
There is a verse that relates how we were instructed by the Source to partake of the Seder – it sets out a three-step program for freedom.
“You must eat the Passover Sacrifice with your hips girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand.” (Exodus, Bo 12:11)
Hips Girded: If we really want to leave Egypt today we need to “gird our loins” – this first phase involves summoning up our inner resources in preparation for action – preparing ourselves with the proper headspace of what’s about to go down when we make a run for it.
Shoes on your feet: The next phase of attaining freedom has to do with how the different aspects of ourselves interact, and the establishment of a working relationship between our higher (spiritual) and lower (animalistic) self – and this process corresponds to wearing shoes on our feet.
The crafting of shoes involves the utilization of animal skin assembled in order to adorn our feet – but there is deeper metaphysical correlation to shoes.
The purpose of the higher soul is to refine the animal so as to make it a vessel for truth and Godliness – enabling us to achieve the heightened state of loving and serving the Creator in joy with both inclinations – our physical and spiritual selves.
We are looking to work the animal within in such a way that it becomes a garment for who we really are – to harness it’s imagination and direct its passions in the direction of the Source of life.
Staff in your hand: The final step involves honest internal dialogue and engaging the mind in contemplative meditation. Like a stick to a dog, the “staff in hand” is a tool which is sometimes required to tame or guide the wild animal within.
We have the ability to lower ourselves into animalistic desires and tendencies to the point where our animal soul no longer has a connection to the intellect – and the only way to deal with this part of ourselves is to tame, guide and even “strike” the animal soul with a staff.
This is not a physical act. The metaphysical strike refers to the power of speech. We see this when Moses saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite to death and stepped in to save his brother’s life. When the Egyptian refused to stop, Moses “struck” the Egyptian – and Rashi teaches that this means that Moses struck and killed him through enunciating God’s name.
Striking evil with speech means waging war against our ego and delusions. The message we are looking to impart to our animal soul is the truth that the entire world is not running on its own. The Source may be hidden, but is embedded within the atoms directing everything we experience and beyond – that one day this will all become manifest, and the animal soul will be able to see it with physical eyes – the veil of illusion shall be lifted – the glory of the Source will be revealed, and all flesh on earth will together see that “the mouth of God has spoken”.
According to the Kabbalah, “the mouth of God has spoken” refers to the first commandment – “I am God your God who took you out of Egypt.”
The Hebrew word for the first “God” in the verse is Havaye, which is connected to the words haya (was), hoveh (is) and yi’heye (will be)
This name of the Creator alludes to God as He transcends time, space and all other limitations of the world.
Our work here is to harness this infinite expansiveness and internalize it.
This consciousness, that we are not bound in any way by the limitations of the world, becomes our strength and vitality – transforming our reality and effecting a personal exodus from Egypt.
And there is literally no better time than tomorrow night (Friday April 3rd), at the Passover Seder to transform our reality and break free from all forms of enslavement. Might be a good idea to list them out as a cheat sheet.
There is a certain power, a once a year opportunity hovering above us tomorrow night – and we don’t want to miss it. On Passover eve, the night that freedom was born, we experience freedom by following a sequence of 15 ordered steps called the “Pessach Seder” (Passover Order).
The 15 steps are:
11. Set the table
The first step, “Kadesh” (Sanctify) corresponds to our transcending of the mundane world – and once we’ve set ourselves free from material slaveries, we can then return and sanctify them. That is when true spiritual freedom begins – when we introduce a higher purpose into every physical act we do.
And the final step, “Nirtza” (Accepted) corresponds to us doing nothing – it’s time for the Source to take over. We are not designed to be perfect. Once we’ve done what we can do, it’s time to focus on the good and strengthen our faith even more.
For over 3,300 years we have been making freedom runs from Egypt – doing our jobs of transforming the darkness of this world into light – and now it’s the Creator’s turn to lift us up out from slavery and banish the darkness once and for all – bringing perfect illumination to our path for eternity.
Chag Kasher v’Sameach (Wishing you a happy and kosher holiday)