Passover brings with it a rich source of metaphysical speculation. It occurs in early spring and coincides with the return to visible life of what might appear to be a hibernating biosphere.
This winter was particularly punishing for many and therefore Spring seems to be the true beginning of the year.
The clear and unambiguous meaning of Passover concerns liberation from slavery. It is the repetition of this message which permeates the Haggadah and Seder.
It is about Resistance and persistence. It is about war and violence. It is about despair and joy. It is about life and death.
And it is about the slavery of our minds. The Israelites who followed Moses into the desert did so with strange reluctance. They "knew" what their lives were like as slaves and as despicable as they were, they were familiar.
Kabbalists offered prayers and gratitude to God but recognized that their personal liberation and spiritual growth depended on their choices alone. It is the way of the universe that free will is the operative force.
Liberation means taking risks. Embracing liberation means that results may be uncertain, unclear. Liberation may end tragically. Liberation takes courage.
The celebration of the Golden Calf at the base of Mount Sinai was more an act of fear than defiance.
It is said that the wanderings for 40 years in the desert allowed a new generation to be born who were never slaves. Despite physical liberation, their parents were mentally and emotionally still slaves to their past.
This season offers a unique opportunity–to begin again. To question everything. To question the beliefs that cause us suffering, to liberate ourselves from ideas and relationships that hurt us.
Spring offers an opportunity to shake off the weight and cold of our fears, our restraints, our self-imposed limitations, our failure to reach our highest potential.
We read in the Haggadah that each year we are to feel as if we personally were liberated from slavery. That is both a responsibility and an opportunity.
Let us use it wisely.