Chodesh Tov! It’s hard to believe that we are heading into Nissan. The Hebrew month of Nissan is called the Month of our Geulah (freedom, liberation, and final redemption). Thousands of years ago, our ancestors were freed from Egyptian slavery, and Mitzrayim (the Hebrew word for Egypt) literally translates as ‘narrow place’. Just as Hashem took them from a narrow place of limitation and scarcity to the ultimate epitome of abundance (receiving the infinitely powerful Torah), He wants to do the same for us.
But what exactly does this modern-day liberation look like for those of us in the ‘civilized’ Western world, the land that already overflows with abundance and ‘freedom’? The Lubavitcher Rebbe says that our modern Mitzrayim is living with self-inflicted imprisonment of the mind. Our narrow place is a narrow mind. The Jewish people have a history of allowing ourselves to be taken as slaves, subjected to hard labor and torture, and being confined to life as a lesser people. This pattern has become so ingrained into our collective DNA over the centuries and continents that we now make jokes about it being our national mindset.
How did this come to be?
In yesteryear, we were controlled by evil dictators, weapons, and physical pain. Today, we are manipulated by media, propaganda, purse strings, and peer pressure. The messaging has become smarter over time and now even comes with almost irresistible packaging. But the end result is still the same: we are being controlled and given loaded information, because people in power know that most citizens are naively trusting and won’t dig beneath the surface to seek actual truth.
For example, in Egypt we were told to come ‘help’ build pyramids for sake of the national good. On the first day, the whole country was there, including royalty. Slowly, slowly everyone else was removed until in the end, only the Jews (with the exception of the Tribe of Levi) were showing up to work everyday and found themselves duped into slavery. In Spain and Germany, there were different versions of national propaganda put out to make us feel safe and protected by following the messaging, only to end up expelled, attacked, and killed.
And what about today? Conspiracy theories and present politics aside, the point is:
We are better than this.
Living in slavery does not have to be our fate, and we are not meant to be slaves to this world. We can each individually choose whether we will continue to perpetuate this victim’s mentality, or if we will create a new generational legacy of leadership, accountability, and creatively carving our own path in the world, refusing to settle for anything less than achieving our ultimate Divine purpose.
So, how do we set ourselves free from this prison of small-mindedness? How do we liberate our consciousness from scarcity and limitation to expansion and abundance? We can each do deep introspection and find ways that narrow-mindedness is limiting our quality of life and the fulfillment of our purpose. Just like modern-day prisoners who are set free after twenty or thirty years often prefer to go back to prison because they don’t know how to function in freedom. As crazy as it sounds, it’s actually easier to be controlled than to create a new state of mind. But this is exactly what we have been given the power to do. And with great power comes great responsibility.
At MMA, our goal is not to spoon feed our students with what to think.
Rather, we teach them how to think and help them with the creativity, courage and confidence to think outside the box in an effort to determine their own destiny. Because a life of freedom outside the box is our birthright, if we choose to accept it.