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Oftentimes, we cannot liberate ourselves from life's impediments because our thoughts, our dreams, and our ambitions, are looking downward. Yet, we forget that what makes us free is our very ability to look, and aim, heavenward.

Rabbi Allouche

It’s all in the name.

At least, that’s what marketing experts would tell you. That is why so many entrepreneurs and companies will not hesitate to spend hefty sums on “personal branding,” and “product labeling.” So, why would G-d pick the name “Passover” for our upcoming festival, which falls next Friday evening (April 15)?

The Talmud explains that this name was chosen as it refers to G-d “passing over” the homes of the Jewish people in Egypt, as He carried out the tenth plague, which included the killing of the Egyptian firstborns.

But isn’t this festival about so many more miracles? Aren’t we also celebrating the Grand Exodus from Egypt? And what about the other nine plagues? So why name this festival after the Tenth plague alone?

The answer is surpassingly beautiful. And it speaks to the very essence of freedom:

To be free means that we are able to “pass over” the challenges of life, even if those seem insurmountable.

o be free means that the impossible is oftentimes possible, if we can allow the power of our will and the conviction of our faith to “pass over” our perceived limitations.

To paraphrase a slogan of the US Armed Forces: “The difficult we do right away; the impossible takes a little longer.”

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, one of the great Chassidic Master at the turn of the 19th Century, would often ask his disciples: “Did you look heavenward today?”

His message was profound: Oftentimes, we cannot liberate ourselves from life’s impediments because our thoughts, our dreams, and our ambitions, are looking downward. Yet, we forget that what makes us free is our very ability to look, and aim, heavenward.

We might define ourselves by the size of our bank account, the waist of our body, the dimensions of our home, or the limits of our natural tendencies. We may even say to ourselves, from time to time, “this is the way I was born, and this is the way I will always be.”

But on this upcoming festival, G-d passed over, and so can we. Our confining nature can be altered, our narrow perspectives can be changed. And if we just learn to look heavenward and focus on our soul, its limitless potential, and its unique purpose, we too can become free.

Shabbat shalom, an early Chag Sameach, and many, many blessings,
Rabbi Allouche