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Introduction

How To Celebrate

The History of Passover

Thoughts & Essays

Letters From The Rebbe

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Purim and Pesach

The Birth of a Nation

A Timeless Lesson

At Home and Away

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Striving Higher

Changing the Unchangeable

Liberating Heaven and Earth

Changing Winter to Spring

Seize the Moment

Opposite Extremes

Spiritual Nourishment

Guaranteed Protection

When Private Affects Public

Reclaiming The Fifth Son

Absolute Reliance

Tefillin and Egypt

Enjoyment or Achievement?

Levels of Freedom

Components of Freedom

Sacrificing Slavery

Schooling During Pesach

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Text of the Passover Haggadah

 
 Enjoyment or Achievement? Components of Freedom


Levels of Freedom

....One of the main highlights of the Festival of Pesach is indicated in the name which the Anshei Kenesseth Hagedolah (the Men of the Great Assembly) ordained for this festival - "the Season of Our Freedom."

For the Torah, which is called "Torath Chayyim" (the Law of Life) - being our guide in life - demands of each Jew to remember, i.e. to experience, the freedom which came with the liberation from Egypt, every day of his life.

To quote our Sages: "In every generation, and every day, a Jew must see himself as though he had that day been liberated from Egypt. "

This injunction and demand has been made upon every generation of Jews, during the time when the royal house of David had been reigning for generations, as also in the darkest times of exile and extermination, may the Merciful One spare us.

Likewise is it made upon every Jew and every day. Even though he experienced the "release from bondage" yesterday, he is to relive it today, and again tomorrow.

For the meaning of "liberation from Egypt" is the attainment of freedom from obstacles and limitations which the Jew encounters in his way to self-fulfillment, hindering him from reaching his destiny and from accomplishing what he must.

That is why the freedom which he experienced yesterday does not hold good for his position and state of today, and his attainment to day will prove inadequate tomorrow.

To get a clearer and better understanding of what has been said above, let us consider an analogy from Nature:

On the level of plant life, we would consider a plant completely "free" from all "anxiety" and hindrance, when it has been fully provided with all the things needed for its growth: soil, water, air, etc. Although it cannot move from its place, being "condemned" to remain rooted to its spot all its life - nevertheless it enjoys the fullest freedom of plant life. So long as it remains a plant, it is truly free.

An animal, however, even when it is fully provided with its needs in the way of food, water, etc., yet is forcibly confined to one place, such confinement would spell the utmost deprivation for it, and a most dreadful imprisonment, inasmuch as it would be denied that which is the essential aspect of its being.

In the case of a human being, inasmuch as man's distinction is that of the intellect, if he be given also freedom of movement, yet he be excluded from intellectual activity - he would be a prisoner held in the kind of captivity which deprives him of his essential entity.

Likewise in the realm of the intellect itself. He who is capable of the highest intellectual advancement, yet is constrained to a life of child-like mentality - surely this is a most painful restraint upon his true self, especially if such a restriction be self imposed.

Where a person dissipates his years, intellect and capacities in pursuit of his physical needs and the gratification of the lower appetites to the exclusion of all else - surely such a self-imposed enchainment is, in many respects, even more dreadful and more tragic in its consequences.

As for Jews, of whom each and every one possesses a Divine soul, a veritable 'part' of G-d above, which even while it is shrouded in the 'animal' soul and confined in a clay frame is yet inseparably bound to the En Sof (The Infinite) - its impelling quest for true freedom and release from bondage is ceaseless and infinite. It cannot rest in one place. With each day, as the soul progressively rises higher by means of the Torah and Mitzvoth which bring it closer to the En Sof, it experiences a deep and innermost feeling that whatever state it had attained the day before, has today assumed confines from which it must break loose in order to rise higher still.

May G-d grant that the coming Season of Our Freedom bring to every Jew and Jewess freedom from all hindrances, physical, material and spiritual, so that with gladness and fullness of heart everyone rise higher and higher - to the ultimate Season of Our Freedom, the true and complete Redemption through our Righteous Moshiach, speedily in our days.

With prayerful wishes for a Kosher and Happy Pesach,

(Excerpt of a letter dated 11 Nissan, 5728 [1968])
 Enjoyment or Achievement? Components of Freedom



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