Not much of interest came to mind last night as I tried to write about “Join” in the context of Exodus. I wrote myself a list, which included the Israelites joining together as a people after being freed from slavery, and us, as modern-day Jews, joining together to tell the story of our escape from Egypt to carry it on to the next generations. I noted to myself that Jews all over the world join together, saying (more or less) the same words – telling (more or less) the same story.
I believe all those things are true, and reflect a way that the Israelites – and we, as their descendants – joined together. But to me those things are obvious – nothing to write home about, as it were. So I delayed writing until I could think of something that I found a little more compelling. And just now, it hit me.
I think that the story of Exodus is the story of the Israelites joining with God. What do I mean by that? Different things. I think God and the Israelites in some ways joined forces to best Pharaoh and his followers. That’s the lesser part of it, though. It seems to me that the Israelites had to learn to trust God, to believe in God, and to believe in faith in God.
In modern-day psycho-babble, the Israelite had to somehow deal with their PTSD and repair their relationship with God before they could truly be whole. They had to be “one” with God. This oneness – this joining together with God – is at the heart of Exodus. I believe it is only after the Israelites went through their fits and starts of faith and lack of faith – as they healed themselves from the long years of slavery and dehumanizing – that God began to have faith in them. As this came to be, faith and trust knit God and the Israelites together.
Every year, we replay that joining by retelling our ancestors’ story. God’s story. We carry it forward in our lives, in our quest to be free from our own battles with whatever “enslavement” we experience. To jobs, to bad relationships, to abuse – other- and self-directed, to indifference. We end our Seders by saying “Next year in Jerusalem!” For me, it’s a metaphor for this freedom, for this oneness with God, which I need to work toward in the year ahead.
I’m participating this year in #blogExodus, a daily series of posts, tweets, and status updates relating to themes of Passover and Exodus, created by ImaBima. The series lasts for 14 days – not nearly as long as the Jews wandered in the desert all those years ago. You can find other posts via the #blogExodus hashtag