Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Voice of Daat: With Passover Comes Spring

In a few days it will be the night of the Seder and this is the post that will be published during the holiday. The eve of the holiday creates a lot of activity around. Right now I’ll take a deep breath and imagine the second day of Passover when the house is still clean and there is still so much to celebrate with family in the spring. But now I must focus on the cleaning necessary to prepare for the holiday.

Freedom: Let my people go – and they will work

During Passover we were released by the Pharoah of Egypt, and we went on to live without burdens. And now, instead, we live our lives under the yoke of the Creator.

Why do we define one situation as slavery and another as freedom?

For this question there are many answers which illustrate the idea that being subjected to the Creator frees us to be enslaved by fashion, sudden whims, and other manmade things. One of the things that this enslavement liberates us from is time. The holiday of Passover is always celebrated in the spring, as the Torah commands us to preserve it, i.e. always making sure that Passover will take place during this season. How important is it that there will be a Passover? Why aren’t we told, for example, to preserve the Sukkot for fall?

The connection between the names for the holiday, "Festival of Freedom" and “Spring Festival"

We live according to planned and predicted schedules. Each person sits and plans what it is that they will do today, tomorrow, and next week; being preoccupied with what to do for days, months, and years, so that they can feel like everything is under control. The desire to control something is a positive desire. The ability to plan and act according to a specific design, allows a person to be in control of one of the most valuable resources- time.

Western ideas allow us to plan all of our activities based on the solar calendar- the Christian calendar. In this calendar everything is known in advance. In contrast, the Jewish world uses a calendar which works opposite to the World’s lunar calendar. This calendar relates only to the renewal and disappearance of the moon and has nothing to do with the seasons. According to this, it’s impossible to plan the future and it actually reflects the complex reality that exhibits both ups and downs, which come not based on people, but on external factors that we can’t control such as fate.

The Jewish calendar is a combination between two boards, specifically the board that keeps the seasons – such as the solar panel/board – and the lunar calendar, which pays special attention to the lunar cycle of natural regeneration.

The written Hebrew calendar is perceived in the same way as the Christian calendar- a fixed calendar which allows us to know specific dates and events in advance. However, with the Hebrew calendar, there is a message that tells us that we can control time and there is another part that concentrates on the development of the months and the year. This is a version of time that controls us and our activities.

Being able to absolutely determine time in advance, gives us the false illusion of control, however it actually causes us to be enslaved. Only someone who pays attention to reality, and knows that they are controlled by the Creator, understands the fact that we are dominated by time. Once a person understands this, they are in fact a free person.

A fundamental part of understanding Daat involves acknowledging that our work is meant to be timely and it involves working fixed hours set up in advance. We have deadlines but the deadlines are not what matter most. We meet our deadlines without having to change our lifestyles or priorities.

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