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Women's Corner

Pesah - the Holiday of Freedom

Rabbanith Ruth Menashe
Friday, March 21, 2014/Adar B 19, 5774

One of the names of the holiday of Pesah is חג החרות, the holiday of Freedom. We live in a world where freedom is a concept that people value more than ever. Many countries practice freedom of speech, religion, press and more. On the surface, it seems that we are as free as can be.

What is the  meaning of freedom, and what does it mean to be a free person? Looking at society around us, we may well define a free person as one who does what he wants whenever he wants, without any limitations or constraints. The Torah outlook is rather different " A free person is one who is involved in the study of Torah" (Aboth 6:2).

Our holy Torah is full of limitations, laws and precepts: "do this and don't do that". It is interesting to note that when G-d tells Moshe Rabbenu, 'a"h, to go to Pharaoh and relay to him the message that he should let Jewish people go from bondage, Moshe Rabbenu said in the Name of G-d: "Let my people go SERVE me." Is G-d saying that the Jewish people will now be slaves to Him instead of to Pharaoh?

It seems that man was created with a built in need for some form of limitation. After all, those who think that they are "free", in the sense that they can do whatever they feel like, may well find themselves "slaves" (if they are honest enough). They may be slaves to their physical desires, or to their belief in being "free". It is ironic, that although we live in an era which promotes freedom, we are slaves to our egocentric wants.

Now we can understand why only he who follows the guidelines of Torah is a free man. Only the Torah which reflects G-d's infinite Wisdom can truly free us from our physical, egocentric desires, and connect us to our Creator. It elevates us to emulate G-d and follow in His footsteps.

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