This week’s Parsha is Bo, and the theme is Redemption. I’d like to explore what I think our Sages would encourage us to explore, which is not just a Bible story. Of course, none of it is just a Bible story…
Parsha Bo is about how each of us can cope with our own Egypt, any situation in our lives which is strangling us or holding us back. Our Sages decided to legislate mitzvot for daily practice to remind us about our experience coming out of Egypt, in order to learn how our forefathers got out of Egypt, and apply those messages in our own life and our own Egypts.
With that in mind, I want to go through a few Bible-based ways to get ourselves free, to achieve a personal redemption.
The first one involves the slaves in Eqypt who could not express their pain. They went through a non-articulate, grunting phase before speaking their way into consciousness. We can do that, too, by simply screaming or grunting first, in order to initiate our own freedom process. And then, once we are able to articulate we can continue to speak our way into consciousness.
Another way to get free is to recognize and testify to God’s presence in every aspect of our lives. That is a simple recipe for getting free, now and in the future.
Another way to get free is to work at turning our hardened heart, like Pharoah had, into a softened, submissive heart for G-d.
Another way to get free is to recall that the Israelites were functioning with a slave mentality and a constricted consciousness, and the way they got themselves free was through expanded consciousness. We have to explore ways to expand how we look at things, such as time, space and dimensions, in order to get ourselves free.
Another way to get free is based on the 49 days of counting of the Omer, which represents counting one of the sub-Sefirot, and trying to internalize the lesson of that Sefira. You could call it Sefirotic Awareness, and it’s another way to get ourselves free.
Another way to get free is to put ourselves on a path towards freedom, as the Israelites did on their journey from Egypt to Sinai. We move, step-by-step, on a trek towards freedom.
Another way to get free is to understand that what was holding us back, the iron gates of Egypt that would not allow the Israelites to pass through, was our servitude to “the other side,” represented as Pharoah. Of course, our ultimate goal is to be servants and children of G-d, not Pharoah. We have to see and reframe to what and to whom we’re enslaved, and redirect ourselves to serve God.
Another thing to understand is that the Israelites process of redemption was not entirely dependent upon them. It was dependent on something beyond them. It was a process that had its own timeframe, and it was going to happen, no matter what they did to choose to be free.
What was required of them is the same thing required of us – Emunah or trust and belief that they’d be able to get free - and knowing that time would bring them the opportunity. Those qualities will get us free as well.
Another thing which made the greatest difference between slavery and freedom for them was the recognition that G-d was running every, single aspect of their lives. That’s what the plagues were all about, to demonstrate that everything in and on the world is not human-caused but G-d caused.
The miraculous plagues were designed to make us understand that G-d is running everything, and to help us begin to embrace this truth in all aspects of our lives. This is one of the most powerful ways of getting ourselves free.
One more thing – we must understand it’s all miraculous. From the open miracles in Egypt we learned the lesson that even things that don’t seem to be miraculous at all, and only natural, are really hidden miracles. We just need to re-adjust our glasses to see the hidden miracles, all the time. That’s another way that we can get ourselves free.