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A Word from Rabbi Schulman - 4/14/17

The most important passage in the Passover Haggadah is the verse that states that every Jew should see himself or herself as having personally left Egypt. It is not enough to see the story of the exodus as a long ago event. Instead, each of us is commanded to personalize the story as a means of our own process of liberation.

This year, I found a teaching by Rabbi Ayelet Cohen that aided my connection to the exodus. She utilizes the Ten Plagues as “an opportunity to look inwards.” She asks, “What are the fears, the judgments, the disappointments, the losses that plague us and our families?”

Rabbi Cohen offers the following thought provoking interpretation of the Ten Plagues:

Dam – Blood: Shocking change when what sustains us becomes poisonous

Tzfardeiah – Frogs: Constant disruption

Kinim – Lice: The judgments that make our skin crawl

Ahrov – Wild Beasts: Our worst fears materializing

Dehver – Cattle Plague: Unexplained illness

Sh’kheen – Boils: What we hate about our bodies

Barad – Hail: Our environment being out of control

Arbeh – Locusts: Shattered dreams, the devastated harvest

Khoshech – Darkness: The isolation of depression or ostracism

Makat B’khrorot – Death of the Firstborns: Unspeakable loss

Though we are past the Seders of the first and second nights, Passover has not concluded. There is still time to reflect on Rabbi Cohen’s interpretation of the Ten Plagues. May they be a means for identifying aspects of our lives that are constricted. May Passover be a time for greater expansiveness of spirit, a celebration of freedom for ourselves, our families, our community, and all people.

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