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True Freedom . . .

Friday, 12 January, 2018 - 11:14 am

The constant recurring refrain echoed repeatedly throughout this week’s Torah portion is G‑d’s message to the Egyptian monarch, Pharaoh, ”Let My people go”.

Many of us have heard this line before. But for some reason we stop a bit too short and don’t make it to the punch line of the message: “Let My people go that they may serve Me”. G‑d is sending us a powerful message: “Being free means serving Me”.

But how? G‑d’s laws seem so restricting: do this, don’t do this – that doesn’t sound like freedom?

It would depend, then, on our definition of ‘freedom’. If being free means the removal of all constraints on our development and self-expression; the ability to follow our every whim and fancy. Then a Jew serving G‑d can hardly be considered a free man.

Judaism defines freedom very differently. Acting as we please without rules or limits, Judaism tells us, is the epitome of enslavement. For in so doing, our urges, drives and addictions have enslaved us.

True freedom is the ability to express who we really are; to transcend and be free of our craves and urges. The Torah is the instruction manual to freedom. Even its seemingly restrictive laws are only there to allow us to tap in to our inner self. Because sometimes it is only through restrictions that our true self can come out.

We all mirror G‑d and were created in his image – that is who we truly are. Let’s do a mitzvah today and be truly free!

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