Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Passover!

Beginning at sundown tonight is the Eight Day Festival of Passover.

Consent of the Governed wishes all who celebrate Passover a healthy and happy holiday.

As the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold during the Passover Seder, we should remember that people throughout the centuries have yearned to be free from tyranny and oppression. Throughout history we have seen the rejection of the notion that rulers and kings and governments have divine and unlimited power over others. There have been numerous wars and conflicts waged to establish and preserve the freedom and dignity of every individual. Today people still fight to preserve their personal freedom and God given rights. The need to be free is innate in humans and indeed we hold an inherent need for liberty. The Exodus was not just about allowing slaves to leave Egypt, it was about God and Man's rejection of Man's subjugation of other Men, but there is also another message.

We should acknowledge that slavery exists both in the world in which we live as well as within ourselves. Throughout the week we reflect on how we can free ourselves from some of our own modern day forms of slavery. Slavery can exist in many aspects of our lives. Aside from the obvious possibility of living in freedom versus tyranny with respect to those who govern us and make our laws, we can be slaves on a more personal and internal level.

We can be slaves to those to whom we owe something.
We can be slaves to our past.
We can be slaves to our own bad habits and vices.
We can be slaves to our impulses.
We can be slaves to time and technology.
We can be slaves to our bank account or our credit card bills.
We can be slaves to our wants and desires.
We can be slaves to the taxes we are forced to pay.
We can be slaves to the debts we have accrued.
We can be slaves to laws which we establish, be they just or unjust.

Passover gives us a space and some time to think about what we must do to make our own personal Exodus from the things that enslave us.

"Liberty is rendered even more precious by the recollection of servitude." ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

"Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die." ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

"A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him" -- Ezra Pound