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A Passover Message | True Freedom

A Passover Message adopted from a letter by the Holy Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Schneerson), OBM, from 11th of Nissan 5722 (April 15, 1962). 

The Festival of Pesach, the Season of our Liberation, being a part of Torah, "Torah" in the sense of instruction and guidance, teaches us the true concept of freedom.
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Unlike other, often strange, interpretations of this concept, the Festival of Pesach reminds and teaches us that true freedom means total freedom; that is, full and complete freedom in all three aspects which constitute human life: (a) the realm of the soul, (b) the realm of the body, and (c) the surrounding world in which the individual lives — in each of the three areas individually, and in all of them together.

This means that a Jew must strive for true freedom in all of the said three aspects of his daily life, and in such a way that not only would they not be in conflict with one another, but, on the contrary, one would supplement and complete the other. Only this kind of freedom may be called true freedom.

It is self-evident that the said harmonious and total freedom cannot be achieved in a way of life whereby the soul, which is truly a part of G‑d (the G‑dliness in man), would be subordinated to the body, and both of them (body and soul) to the (material) world. The superior cannot serve the inferior and be content to do so. The highest aspect of human life, the soul, will never acquiesce in subservience to the body. The obvious conclusion, therefore, is that true freedom can be achieved only when the lower constituents of human life — the body and material environment — will be elevated to the highest possible, for them, degree of affinity, with the soul and its aspirations, while the soul, on its own level, will liberate itself from everything that hinders her fulfillment.

The enslavement in Egypt, and the subsequent liberation, reflect precisely the concept of freedom defined above:

The enslavement was complete and total in all three aforementioned aspects of human life; (a) spiritual enslavement in, and to, a country of the lowest moral depravity, for which reason Mitzraim (Egypt) was called the "abomination of the earth"; (b) extreme physical slavery of "hard labor"; (c) the fullest deprivation of their share of material world possessions to which they were entitled.

The Liberation, likewise was in all the three aspects, and in the fullest measure: (a) First and foremost, spiritual liberation — "Withdraw and take for yourselves lambs for the Passover sacrifice". Not only was it a withdrawal from worship of the Egyptian deity, but also an open demonstration of its nothingness; (b) the fullest physical liberation, by marching out of Egypt with a "high hand" (raised hand), with song and jubilation; (c) as for their share of material wealth, they went out "with great substance".

In seeking self-liberation, there are those who confine themselves solely to their soul.

There are others who recognize that freedom must include also the body, and that the gratification of the bodily needs should conform to the true Jewish way. However, they are Jews at home only; when they go outside and go about their business (what should be their business) they feel no responsibility to elevate their share in the material world; they are slaves to the "Mitzraim" environment.

Pesach reminds everyone that the Liberation from Mitzraim should be a daily experience: "Remember the day of your liberation from the land of Egypt all the days of your life".

We are reminded daily: You are free, liberated in soul and in body; and this personal liberation of body and soul makes it possible to convert the substance of “Egypt” into a great Jewish substance.

"I demand only according to their capacity" G‑d, the Creator of man, declares that what he requests and demands of us does not exceed their capacity and ability to fulfill; all that is needed is the firm determination to fulfill G‑d's request. And this is the way, indeed the only way, to our true freedom, freedom from the inner personal Golus (exile), and freedom also from the general Golus, through our Righteous Moshiach.


In memory of Shmuel ben Nisan O.B.M.- Samuel Stroum - Yartzeit March 9, 2001 / 14 Adar 5761  


Wishing you a kosher and happy Pesach,

Warmly,
Rabbi Levitin

From the Desk of Rabbi Levitin | Parsha Tzav

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Dear Friends,  
In honor of the Holy Rebbe's OBM 116th Birthday this coming Tuesday, 11 Nissan (corresponding this year to March 27), we are pleased to send you this week’s edition of Here’s My Story.
Rabbi Bentzion Yaacov Shmuel Orimland presently serves as the rabbi of Young Israel in Margate, New Jersey. He was interviewed in September of 2012 in Brooklyn. This story originally appeared in the film “A Glimpse through the Veil,” produced by JEM.
Click 
here for the story.

Have a beautiful Shabbos.

Warmly,
Rabbi Levitin

 

From the Desk of Rabbi Levitin | Parsha Vayikra

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Dear Friends, 
We are pleased to send you this week’s (Vayikra) edition of Here’s My Story
Dr. Mottel Greenbaum is a psychiatrist in private practice. He lives with his wife and family in Melbourne, Australia, where he was interviewed in July of 2016.

Click 
 here for the story.

Have a beautiful Shabbos.

Warmly,
Rabbi Levitin 

 

From the Desk of Rabbi Levitin | Parsha Vayakhel-Pekudei

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Dear Friends, 
We are pleased to send you this week’s (Vayakhel-Pikudei) edition of Here’s My Story. Mr. Naftali Feldman is a businessman who lives in New York City. He was interviewed in June of 2016. Click 
here for the story.

Have a beautiful Shabbos.

Warmly,
Rabbi Levitin

From the Desk of Rabbi Levitin | Parsha Ki Tisa

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Dear Friends, 
We are pleased to send you this edition of Here’s My Story.
This is an especially touching interview with Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, the Vice President Emeritus of the Orthodox Union.

Click here for the story. 

Warmly,
Rabbi Levitin

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