Bo – Spiritual Exodus

In this week’s Parsha, the final plagues finally convince Pharaoh to let our people go. The people have now been trapped in Egypt 400 years ever since Jacob and his family were forced to flee their home through famine conditions. These centuries describe a period of increasing constriction and social discrimination, leading to actual enslavement in the latter 6 decades. It is difficult for us living in the free world to imagine what it is like to feel so estranged from society, become such social pariahs, and feel so downtrodden. That’s why it was called Mitzrayim – from the Hebrew of Maitsar, meaning ‘restricted’. But as the Frierdicker Rebbe taught us, and echoed by Professor Victor Frankl, only the body can be enslaved – the mind and heart can choose to be free.  The mind can’t be controlled from the outside unless it chooses to be, through personal weakness. Yet life has moments that seem to enslave all of us at some time.  It’s relative.  One person can interpret impending bankruptcy so tragically that he commits suicide, Chas Vesholom. Another will interpret financial crisis as a life’s test that needs working through and even have faith in the outcome. Mitzrayim, our personal state of constriction and stress, Egypt, is often of our own creation.  But we need to remember the ‘Moses element’ within our soul, a Moses who will argue against our personal Pharaoh of depression and mental weakness. Exodus for us is a statement of positivity, and faith. As our Rebbes often taught us: Tracht gut un vet zein gut – think positive and this will lead to a positive outcome.  Let my feelings go!