Moving toward Freedom – Step by Step

March 2021    Nisan 5781


With hopeful anticipation, we welcome in the new moon of the Hebrew month of Nisan. This month we leave our narrow and confined space of gestation and birth ourselves into a new world. Many of us are stepping out of the safe wombs we created to survive during the pandemic and are taking baby steps toward a new vision of what is possible for ourselves in this changing reality in which we now reside. What does this new landscape look and feel like as we emerge blinking into the light?

It is with trepidation that I gingerly step forward, unclear of the boundaries and space that is appropriate between my body and the bodies of those around me. I know after the second vaccination, I am now able to move toward freedom, but don’t feel comfortable releasing all of the safeguards for healthy interaction. I stick my toe into this water of uncertainty, not quite daring to cross that sea of faces that had been a delight for me as an extrovert just one year ago. How will I cross the threshold and integrate my new learnings, new ways of being?  

This month, in the celebration of Passover, we retell the story of our ancestors fleeing from slavery, leaving behind the landmarks and activities that filled their lives, wandering in the desert of the unknown, exploring new inner and outer territory to sustain them on their journey. In our own way, we, too, have taken an unexpected journey, confronting our own terror, recovering and reclaiming lost parts of ourselves that were buried beneath the daily routines of life, and coming to this moment with new and expanded awareness. 

As individuals and parts of a greater whole, we have an opportunity to navigate this new world in more conscious ways, informed by the quiet and inward time we have had to deepen and listen to the usually muffled inner voice that can guide us forward.  I know that my experience of confusion about how to handle this new freedom is not unique – many of us are feeling these same emotions. Many of us now see even more clearly that we are one human family, inextricably interconnected by the air we breathe, the surfaces we touch, the earth we inhabit.

It is said by our rabbis that Nisan is the doorway to the One, and in this month, it is through our own speech that we can create healing. Can we find ways to re-engage with each other speaking from a place of empathy and compassion; can we find new ways to engage in respectful dialogue that moves us beyond the painful divisions that have wounded the soul of our nation and torn us apart? My blessing for this month is that through healing the ways we speak with and about each other we find new pathways forward to liberation and reconciliation and give birth to new possibilities for hope and renewal.