Expressing myself without fear

One of the differences between freedom and slavery is marked by the ability to express oneself without fear. Saying what you want. Screaming or keeping quiet. Learning freedom to exercise it, discovering the power of the word contained in the message.

It is no coincidence that some like to divide the name of the holiday to read pe – sach –the mouth that speaks-.

As we must make use of the freedom to speak in the holiday of Passover, we are thus freed from exile, from the darkness of the night that remains silent, thus becoming a silence that can be heard.

We assert the essential nature of the narrative in the Passover Seder as the internalizing and externalizing of time. Seder night is all about faith and redemption. One of the obligations of this is to read the texts that were accumulated and purged until they were turned into a kind of manual that must carry us to Egypt and make us feel as our ancestors did: from slaves without rights to free beings on the road to holiness. In this way we give spiritual meaning to our life to develop the feeling of being free. If we succeed, we will be fulfilling one of the fundamental commands which concerns “telling the children”. But make no mistake about it, this is not just a formality, nor a magic formula. Stories hold commitments. They must change the referent and adapt it to those who hear the account. These must become a dialogue in times when we are slowly losing the ability to listen and tell.

There is one phenomenon of the Seder night that almost goes unnoticed, for it is the only chance in the year in which we not only bless what we eat, but bless the action of eating. By stating “You sanctified us with Your commands and advised us to eat matzah”, “You ordered us to eat bitter herbs,” we must pay particular attention to the peculiarity of these orders. Matzah and maror were to become the symbolic representatives of all the grains, cereals and vegetables that we can finally eat freely by divine not human order. Yet we have still not been able to go back to bless by swallowing the offering of the Passover, and we must accept this food (those who eat meat) until we are able to do so with holiness and purity and also raise eating meat to another height sharing the korban Pesach.

What we say with our mouths has a creative sense and even more so on the Seder, and that same mouth that by virtue of the order should eat Pesach, matzah and maror, after being set free, has special obligations. Why should this be so? Simply because they complete the freeing process. This is the goal of deliverance. To receive the orders, settle in the Promised Land and seek spiritual elevation. Without this freedom, we remain in the land of slavery and serfdom.

The mouth from which creative words spring, must swallow certain products whose explicit symbols are known by all, but in the process of freedom these have other more discreet signs.

Today when everyone holds their truths and believes them to be so, without anyone trying to object to them, it is almost impossible to see the Truth. To receive this there seems to be no choice but to internally fragment ourselves and break ourselves up. All that remains is rupture from which to rebuild the desire to return to the infinite source so the child may build itself, striving to reach the level of absoluteness of the Creator. For those who cannot achieve that possibility, the Seder provides us with a means which, however simple it may seem, is no less effective: the word from the story of the Exodus, through mouths that are open to the dialogue of pe – sach, and through the same by eating foods that symbolize those which we can freely place on our palates.

With this means, if we fail to fragment ourselves internally in order to rebuild ourselves, at least we will shake up the thick cover that paralyzes us, hindering our commitment to the ideals we claim to share and defend. It is an excellent way to achieve consistency with our ideology and our libertarian principles.

Fulfilling the mitzvah of telling the children is conducted within the home. This is not delegated to the teachers, the press, the TV, the street. It has a frame, the family frame which you can fill with dialogue at least during the Seder night, to return to the insides of the libertarian phenomenon. The mouths open to dialogue serve as a parapet.

On Passover, we are free to shout Hallelujah! Praise, O servants of H’, praise the name of H. Blessed be the name of H’ now and forever. From the rising of the sun to its setting, Praise the name of H’. H is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens (Tehillim 113). But for that shout to be serious, it should be proffered by free beings.


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Yerahmiel Barylka

About Yerahmiel Barylka

Yerahmiel Barylka is an Orthodox rabbi who lives in Israel. Born in Argentina, he has been involved in educational activities both in that country, Mexico and Israel and currently serves as rabbi of the Rambam Synagogue of La Moraleja in Madrid, Spain. He is the author of over a dozen books and hundreds of articles, adviser to educational institutions, consultant and lecturer.

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