Friday, April 02, 2010

What does it mean to be free?

היום שלשה ימים בעמר
Today is the third day of the omer
תפארת שבחסד
A day of compassion in a week of loving kindness

The first night of Pesach I attended a lovely seder hosted by Aryae Coopersmith and Wendy Berk, founders of the Coastside Torah Circle. Along with food and wine/grape juice, we were asked to bring a two minute story to share, entitled “A Time in My Life When I Felt Most Free.”

The first thing that came to mind for me when I saw that in the email was, "I don't know that I've ever felt free." It was very disconcerting. But it has given me something to, as my friend Robert Russo would say, cogitate on.

What does it mean to be free? Are we ever truly free? Is being free something to strive for? Wouldn't pure freedom cut us off from our relations with those around us--both in our personal lives and in the larger circle of the world? It's one thing to be free to do whatever we want, whenever we want, but what about the consequences to others? So is freedom just a concept, not an action? I don't expect definitive answers, but welcome anyone who wishes to share their thoughts on the matter.

Back to Monday night's seder--how did I handle the issue? I told of two times I felt liberation--something related to freedom but no the same. One was when I moved from NY to SF, sharing my thoughts given in yesterday's post. The other is right now, as I liberate myself from feeling hemmed in by a spiritual center that no longer serves me and move towards a spiritual practice that feeds my soul.

כן יהי רצון May it be so

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