Dear Friends –
We have entered the month of Nisan which will bring us, in a little more than one week, to our first seders.
I'd like to suggest a parallel here with the time leading from Rosh HaShana to Yom Kippur.
That time also aligns with a new moon, Tishri, which begins the ten “Days of Awe,” during which we are encouraged to search ourselves for any and all evidence of ways in which we have wronged other people. When we do this search with deep intention, and when we approach those folks and ask their forgiveness and express our readiness to make amends, then we will be all the more ready to stand before HaShem on Yom Kippur itself, asking for another year of life.
That's six months from now – a full half revolution of the planet.
Here's the parallel:
At our seders, we challenge ourselves to find those things that are enslaving us right now: How are we allowing a “narrowness” to take over our lives?
Similar to the Days of Awe six months hence, we have the opportunity right now to start reviewing our lives, taking stock of those “narrow places,” and resolving to “liberate” ourselves from their grasp.
When we do this, we can sit down at our seders ready to say, with full vigor, “Avadim Hayinu b'eretz Mitzraim” – We were slaves in the land of Egypt; Atah b'nei choreen – Now we are free.
I find it so comforting – and challenging – to know that every six months we are given the opportunity to do a “deep dive” into the things that may have taken hold of our lives in ways we did not want: Pesach asks us to look inward: How are we harming ourselves?
At Rosh HaShana we'll turn that question outward: How have we harmed others?
My prayer is that we use this time well to start the process of searching inward, looking for the ways to free ourselves from our self-enslaving tendencies.
Wishing a joyous and liberating seder to all –