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When Jacob returned to Israel after twenty-two years of being a minority in the city of Haran, where his uncle Laban lived, he said “I sojourned with Laban . . . and I acquired oxen and donkeys, flocks, manservants, and maidservants.[1]
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Home » B'Ha'alotcha, Education, Passover

B’Ha’alotcha: Personal Freedom

Submitted by on June 5, 2006 – 2:12 amNo Comment | 1,587 views

A Meaningless Holiday?

In this week’s Parsha we read that several people, unable to participate in the offering of the Pascal lamb, approached Moses a asked for a second chance. Mosesconsulted with G-d thus the 14’th of “Iyar” was consecrated as  “Pesach Sheini,” a second Passover.

Though the offering of the Pascal Lamb was discontinued nearly two thousand years ago the date for Pesach Sheini, the second Passover, remains marked on our calendars even today. What is the meaning of this celebration when it is devoid of its practical application?

Spiritual Redemption and The Two Levels

Passover represents more than the Pascal Lamb, it represents the exodus from Egypt; it represents freedom. In today’s age it symbolizes redemption from personal bondage. The chains of our own nature bind us. Our proclivities, desires, temptations, indeed our very needs, often force us to act against our better judgment, against our own interest.

Passover represents liberation from this form of servitude. The soul is emancipated; it gains the freedom to practice as necessary, unhindered and unencumbered.

This freedom is gained on two levels which is possibly why we still celebrate two separate Passovers.

A Poignant Example

Let us examine a classic example of return. Imagine a teenage child who rejects his mother’s advice. The child ventures out with wild friends, is drawn into their lifestyle and descends into all manner of destructive habit.

Despite his mother’s protestations the child remains convinced that he knows better. His mother claims that his grades will suffer but the child is immune. The mother claims that his friends will drag him down but the child is unaffected. The mother claims that his friends will hurt him but the child doesn’t believe her.

One day the child wanders onto the wrong street at the wrong time. An argument erupts, tempers flare, insults are exchanged, weapons drawn, muzzles flash, and the child, an innocent bystander, is struck and falls to the floor. Thirty-six hours later he wakes up in the hospital only to discover that a ten-hour surgery has saved his life.

Level I

Realization dawns. Mother was right. She knew best. All of her nagging, all of her badgering, all of her reminding, and I ignored the glaring truth. Slowly consciousness percolates and a decision is formulated. From here on out I must trust my mom. I can’t trust my instincts, mother knows best.

The child has just experienced the first level of exodus. He was freed from himself. Bringing it about was traumatic but kicking and screaming the child has arrived. However, this great epiphany is only the first step. What is the child missing?persronal freedom - innerstream Motivation for positive behavior. He follows his mother’s advice but only from fear of consequence.

He prefers to be back with his friends, he yearns, he pines, he literally craves it yet he won’t dare succumb to it. It almost killed him; he can no longer afford to do what he really wants to do. In short, he doesn’t do it because he wants that which is right, he does it because he fears that which is wrong.

Level II

The second level comes with time. He lives the new responsible life for a while. Weeks pass by, months even years, before he sheds his youthful disposition. He learns to appreciate the meaning of life; he develops a desire to achieve for himself, to make something of himself. He now wants to do what’s right only because it’s right. Not out of fear of the negative but out of desire for the positive. This is the second level, the level of personal freedom, the second Passover, Pesach Sheni.

When a person reaches that level he can make up for all past misdeeds. It is never too late to shine again, there is always a second chance.

A Personal Example

This phenomenon is not restricted to teenagers. Imagine a mature adult who often receives unsolicited advice from his parents. He resents their advice and never accepts it. The irony is that as much as he rejects his parents he will crave their once unwelcome support once it is no longer offered.

Level I

Have you ever noticed that much of the advice once so irritating to you has later become your favorite parental quote? The one you never tire of repeating, relishing the impression it makes on your listeners. Why didn’t we appreciate that very advice when it was given in our youth? Why does it take so long to learn to appreciate? To come to terms with the simple truth that our parents knew better then we did?

This realization, powerful as it is, is only the first level.

Level II

The second level occurs when we offer to our children the very same advice that we rejected in our youth. We were too smart for those words then but we sure echo them today!

First we learned to appreciate it and that was the first Passover. Then we learned to believe in it and that is the second Passover.That is when we truly attained personal freedom.

Happy Second Passover

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