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The Story of our Lives

Wednesday, 16 April, 2008 - 5:19 pm

Children love stories.
Adults too.
After all, stories are a special vehicle of learning and communication.
What is a story? A story takes a series of individual events, conflicts, twists and turns and weaves them into…a symmetrical whole.
There’s a guiding theme. There are lines of causality drawn between seemingly unrelated goings-on. There’s a rhythm and balance.
It’s a story.
Which brings us to Passover. At the Seder, our questions are answered through the Haggada, which translates from Hebrew as ‘the telling’; the
telling of the story.
The Haggadah weaves together historical facts to compose a narrative. It’s a story of an imperfect people who suffer great challenges. These people recognize that they are never alone, because they have a G-d Who cares. With that recognition, they turn to – and place their trust in - the Divine, and ultimately achieve freedom.
In a nutshell, that’s the body of the Haggada.
It’s a story of our ancestors.
And it’s a story of our own. Because we’re still not free.
We may not be slaves in the conventional sense, but we’re controlled by impulses, appetites, temper etc; we’re still trapped in ourselves, our habits and our patterns.
And, whether we recognize it or not, we yearn for freedom. So we have the gift of Passover.
The Exodus was just the beginning. This historically critical event is much more than an event. It’s the force of Freedom in life, a Divine energy waiting to be tapped, especially on the Seder night.
But we need to unlock this energy. And a primary key is: The story.
In the story - our story - we recognize that we’re on a human journey filled
with many ‘Egypts’. In the story – our story – we recognize that we live this journey for a Higher Purpose. In the story – our story – we recognize that there is ultimately a symmetry to the narrative of our lives, and that transcending the Egypts is the only way to our internal Promised Land.
At the Seder, we recognize that each life is a unique and precious story, and that we are co-authors of our individual narratives.
At the Seder we resolve to guide our life’s script in a transcendent, liberated direction, and we trust in our Author above to give us the strength we’ll need.
It’s Passover. Attend a Seder. Hear your story. Visualize the coming chapters.
Now live them.
Best wishes for a meaningful Passover,


Rabbi Mendy

Comments on: The Story of our Lives

Mendy wrote...

.....a little more context.
When one delves into Torah wisdom, one quickly realizes that the Written Torah, the words in our Torah scroll, are actually the skeleton of Jewish Law and thought. There's another dimension, the Oral Torah, which fleshes things out.
For example:
There are 613 mitzvos in Jewish Law.
Not one of them is fully laid out in the Written Torah, and even what's there is extremely concise.
So it's interesting that the Scripture is relatively explicit when it comes to the Seder and the Haggada.
In Exodus Ch. 13 it's obvious that questions are a primary mechanism for the Seder (see last week's Torah thought and addendum). The answer is described as "telling", as in "telling a story".
Let's understand 'story'.
Hearing our 'story' means framing life as a meaningful whole, and giving it a certain perspective.
I need to understand, through the story metaphor, that:
A. I matter (as a protaganist in the story).
B. Life isn't about my conveniences; it's about fulfilling my destiny in bringing the story-line to its proper conclusion.
C. I have the capacity to be a co-author
D. The bumps in the road need to be taken in context of the story.

If I can internalize that at the Seder, it can truly help free me from:
1. A sense of aimlessness and lack of self-worth
2. Spending my energy on self-pity and self-indulgence
3. Feeling that my life is out of control, and that I'm helpless
4. The psychologial paralysis that can come from a painful incident.

These are all powerful Egypts. And I can rise above them.

4/17/2008 wrote...


you truly have a gift for putting down the written word like a casual yet always meaningful conversation.

a joyous pesach to you, malki and your entire and very lucky to have you as their father brood. alan j. nydick