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Passover Reflections: Our Greatest Oppressor!

Few experiences are as disheartening as being enslaved. The suppression of the human spirit is profoundly frustrating.

Throughout history, mankind has struggled to break free from various forms of tyranny.

Each year, the Jewish people commemorate this timeless struggle through the retelling of our exodus from Egypt.

An iconic image of Moses parting the Red Sea was even considered by Benjamin Franklin as a potential seal for the USA.

Yet, why does freedom often seem so elusive?

In an era marked by unprecedented material abundance and liberty, why do many still feel constrained?

The mystics offer an insightful perspective on this paradox, one that may initially seem counterintuitive.

Firstly, every individual possesses the innate capacity for freedom—a gift from God. While external circumstances can pose significant challenges, our ability to choose how we respond to these challenges remains intact.

Secondly, and perhaps most crucially, we must avoid becoming our own oppressors.

A primary force of this is narcissism which serves as the primary barrier to the liberation of the human spirit.

When we prioritize our own interests at the expense of the greater good, we sever our connection to the collective human experience. This, in turn, stifles the expression of our individual spirits, as we are inherently interconnected.

By aligning ourselves with the interests of our community and humanity at large, we create space for the free flow of the human spirit within us.

As we gather with our families for the Passover Seder, let us unite in spirit with our fellow Jews worldwide, particularly with our brothers and sisters in the Land of Israel.

Let us always remember that true freedom requires continual alignment with the interests of others.

Only then can we experience genuine liberation.

Yosef Vogel


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