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Rabbi Mendy Herson's Blog

Thoughts from, and conversations with, Rabbi Herson

Set Yourself Free

Do you want to meet your personal potential?

Psychologists have long recognized self-actualization - or self- fulfillment - as a deeply rooted human drive. We want to be all we can be, to spread our wings and soar.

At one level, the path to this goal takes a lot of introspection and mental/emotional toil. I need to know myself –my own weaknesses and habits - if I want to grow into who I can be. I need to be pro-actively self-aware, consistently observing how I react to various stimuli in my day, and watching my sub-consciously ingrained patterns.

At the same time, hyper-focus on self can actually get in the way of personal growth. When you can’t sleep, and focus on falling asleep, the self-focus obstructs your goal of relaxation. Paradoxically, trying to sleep itself prevents your sleep.

Psychologists have identified something called ‘hyper-reflection,' or ‘thinking too hard.’ When we focus excessively on our potential pitfalls they can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, true self-actualization needs more than self-awareness; it needs self-transcendence, or self-negation. G-d created me for a purpose, something larger than myself. So leading a meaningful life isn't achieved solely by focusing on who we want to be. We also need focus on who we’re needed to be.

It’s not a mindset “what do I want out of life?”, but rather “what does life wants out of me?”

When we adopt an other-centered attitude, we free ourselves of the limitations that come with self-focus. We're swept up in our responsibility to life, to the world around us, to our Creator.

This freedom is part of the Passover mindset. The enslaved Jews weren’t a self-aware, spiritually-evolved group. But they did believe in a Creator and a destiny. They were focused on who they needed to be. So they were open to redemption.

So Passover is about humility. About faith in something Higher. About rebirth.

Please join us at our Community Seder (guess who will be wearing a Moses costume!:)) on March 30th, as we taste the freedom experienced by our ancestors.

Let's make this Passover count.

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