The Netivot shalom, the late Slonimer Rebbe, reminds us that Pesah, like the High Holy Day season, is a time of spiritual renewal a time of becoming a briah hadasha / a new creature. On the first seder night, as at Yom Kippur, we dress in white – even wearing our kittel, the white garment we are married in, fast in at Yom Kippur and will be buried in. It is a time of bitul, becoming more transparent, more aligned, lighter. However, the essential difference between the seasons is that in the fall, the Arousal toward change is from Below (itruta d’l’tata) , from our own initiation of the process of Teshuvah / returning. This season, however, the Arousal is a gift from Above (itaruta d’l’eila). It is a time of Grace, of Desire, a season of Divine Love manifesting with less judgment than during the fall holydays. We only need to open ourselves to this intention for us to become revitalized.
So often lack of freedom is associated with fear. When we experience oppression or slavery, we wish to run from that which oppresses us. Several months ago my teacher, Rabbi Moshe Aharon Krassen, shared this koan with me when we were discussing the Hebrew word yira which contains the dual meanings of fear and awe. We can meditate on these words: “What I am running from is I what will give me what I am running to; fall into the fear of what I am running from, so excellence will manifest!
This is our journey, the path of Israel (Yisra-El: wrestling with or coming into alignment with the Divine) as we discern what we are running from so that we can run toward true freedom of body and soul. What blocks me from knowing that I am free?
We are on the spiritual journey from ANI aleph-nun-yod – “I”/ego to AYIN aleph-yod-nun – Emptiness/ transcendence-of-ego and from ayin back to ani. We come close and move away and come close again. Thus, the story of Pesah, the Exodus is truly nitzhit / continual.
May we all be blessed that this Pesah will be our deepest and most meaningful ever.
14 Nissan 5772
April 6, 2012