Once a year, G-d calls upon us to come out of our Egypts, and believe that nothing is impossible. We may suffer from our own Egypts but we cannot allow suffering to define us. We may possess a disease, but we are not the disease. A part of our body or mind may have been diagnosed as feeble or unhealthy, but our deepest core remains good, healthy, pure, Divine, and yes, limitless.Rabbi Allouche
I’ll never forget that day.
Several years ago, I traveled to Israel to visit my dear mentor, world-scholar, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, may he be well, after he had suffered a stroke.
As I was searching for a parking spot in the busy lot of his Jerusalem hospital, a car zoomed into a disabled parking space. A police officer who was standing there, approached the driver and asked him: “Excuse me, are you disabled?” Without hesitation, the driver responded: “No, I am not disabled. But I do have a disability.”
The driver’s simple yet wise answer was profoundly moving. Here was a man who obviously suffered from a disability, yet he refused to define himself as “disabled.” To him, he was much more than that. In his mind, he was a Divine being without limits.
This is the message of Passover, our festival of freedom. For many of us are shackled by all sorts of “Egypts.” Some suffer from mental, psychological or spiritual disabilities, that stifle our growth and prevent us from maximizing our infinite potential. Others, are entrenched in behaviors and habits that cripple their development.
Alas, oftentimes, these disabilities are so real and painful, that we convince ourselves that “this is reality,” and that “it will never change.”
Globally, we have all been affected by the coronavirus pandemic that has quarantined us and shattered our comfort-zones. And as we hear of the increasing number of deaths, the pain deepens and the darkness intensifies.
But once a year, G-d calls upon us to come out of our Egypts, and believe that nothing is impossible. We may suffer from our own Egypts but we cannot allow suffering to define us. We may possess a disease, but we are not the disease. A part of our body or mind may have been diagnosed as feeble or unhealthy, but our deepest core remains good, healthy, pure, Divine, and yes, limitless.
So here is a suggestion for this Passover:
Think of two or three particular ‘disabilities’ in your life that are holding you back. Then, make a resolution to overcome them and the negative thoughts and self-definitions that they may be feeding you.
It may be as simple as making that telephone call that frightens you, changing that terrible habit, taking upon yourself a new Mitzvah, and making time for your family, for G-d, and for your soul and its desire to pray, to learn Torah, and to do good.
And then, without a doubt, “next year we will be in Jerusalem” where our personal and collective redemption and freedom will finally ring, to eternity.
A very happy, healthy, joyous, and liberating Passover!
Rabbi Pinchas Allouche