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Four Steps To Personal Freedom

Rabbi Daniel Moscowitz

Rabbi Daniel Moscowitz

FOUR STEPS TO PERSONAL FREEDOM
By Rabbi Daniel Moscowitz

Have you ever felt confined and boxed in? Do you ever think about breaking out of your humdrum daily routine? Is your life too limiting and mundane? Well then, let me introduce you to an ancient formula for attaining personal freedom that has its roots in the Passover story and its traditions.
The eight-day festival off Passover (in Hebrew it is called Pesach – pronounced PAY-sach) which begins this Friday evening, April 6th, commemorates the Exodus from Egypt more than thirty three hundred years ago.
The Jews had endured 210 years of exile in ancient Egypt, including several decades of torturous slave labor, when the Almighty fulfilled His promise to Abraham—the promise to redeem the Jews and do justice to their slave-masters. At the stroke of midnight of 15th day in the Hebrew month of Nissan, the Almighty visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. While doing so the Children of Israel were spared as He “passed over” their homes—hence the name of the holiday.
The highlight of Passover is the Seder. On the first two nights of Passover, family and friends gather to relate, celebrate and re-experience our miraculous Exodus from Egypt and the birth of the Jewish Nation.
The Seder table is set in a most elegant fashion. During the Seder we drink four cups of wine, eat Matzah and Maror (bitter herbs), read the Haggadah, enjoy a gourmet Holiday feast, and focus on the children who play a central role in the Passover traditions.
The number four is a recurring theme at the Seder: We drink four cups of wine, ask the Four Questions, speak of the Four Sons — to name but a few of the fours associated with the festival of freedom. Our sages explain the recurrence of the number four on Passover as deriving from the four expressions of redemption in the Almighty’s promise to Moses and the Jewish people.
According to the teachings of the Kabbalah the significance of the number four is rooted in the spiritual stages of creation known as the Four Cosmic Worlds. These stages also apply to our own creative abilities and can apply to our individual lives as we pursue the pathways to personal freedom.
It all starts with a vision. We have to dream; to close our eyes and think beyond the ordinary. No goal is too lofty or too unreachable. Throw away the shackles of limitations; embrace the impossible.
Our second step is to plan. Now that we have the vision, what are the individual details that have to be designed? It is crucial that we split up that huge out-of-the-box idea into small achievable steps (just like the Seder itself with its fifteen parts from start to finish).
Number three is to schedule. Many great ideas are left unfulfilled because they were never scheduled into our personal calendars. You have to make the time to fulfill your vision – don’t rely on just “finding” the time.
And finally, number four is implementation. Do it. Visions, plans, and scheduling accomplish nothing if you don’t put it all into action.
The lesson of the number four at the Seder is that we each have unlimited potential and with a deliberate step by step process we can achieve it. In Hebrew, Egypt is Mitzrayim— which is etymologically related to the word meitzarim, meaning borders or limitations. The moral of the Exodus story is that we all can escape our personal Egypts and achieve success on the road to personal freedom. Try it and you will surely have something to celebrate.

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Rabbi Daniel Moscowitz is the regional director of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois and spiritual leader of Lubavitch Chabad of Northbrook. He can be reached at RabbiM@ChabadIllinois.com . More Passover information available at www.ChabadIllinois.com

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