Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Everybody needs a little liberating...

One way to make the seder more personally meaningful and spiritual is to think of some of the ways that we are stuck in our lives and could use some personal liberation. Here are some suggestions of places where you or I might need a good Exodus:

Debt - the result of past bad decisions. There have been few areas in my life where I have felt more trapped than when I have allowed my debt to accumulate - and this period is one of them. This isn't something where (most times) we're going to get led out of Egypt all at once. Liberation is a long, slow process. But the first step in leaving Egypt is deciding to do it!

Money / success - A key element of deciding to live a simpler life is realizing that "having it all" isn't worth the paper it's written on. If we could learn to define success less about our possessions and more about our contribution to community, our ethics, our spiritual progress, etc., then we would probably be happier as well as more in tune with our families and the earth.

Possessions - similar to the previous point. We are not what we own.

Financial worry - Things may look bad, and may in fact be bad. But - assuming that better decisions are being made, and the proper steps are being taken - lying awake at night worrying about it is not going to improve the situation. Do the right thing, and for the rest - trust in God.

At my seder sometimes I write out on slips of paper the above points and others, such as "Myself", "family of origin," "expectations" etc, and put the slips of paper under my guests' plates. Then when we get to the "We were slaves in Egypt" part we reveal the slips of paper and reflect on the impact of the matter on our lives. If you're feeling brave, share with the person next to you. Sometimes it doesn't apply (a childless person getting "children" for example) but you'd be surprised how many times it's right on point.

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