Printed from ChabadCentral.org

Countdown to a Better Me

Thursday, 17 April, 2008 - 8:55 pm

Passover is a Festival of national liberation. It’s also a Holiday of internal, personal freedom. It’s freedom in macro, and freedom in micro.

As slaves, we had become spiritually deadened. Not only were we trapped, we had lost our aspirations for anything better. We were resigned to a dead-end reality.

So G-d showed us 'shock and awe' with the miraculous Exodus experience.

G-d shook up our world, catapulting us from our reverie and widening our souls' eyes. We finally realized how alienated we had become from G‑d, from each other and from ourselves. 

That was Passover. A blinding, miraculous inspiration, lifting us out of our collective funk.

But quick-fixes don’t last. A ‘sudden awakening’ is just that; it’s a flash of inspiration, and can easily become the proverbial flash-in-the-pan.

Real character-building takes more time; it’s a real process.

In addition, G-d now wanted to give us the Torah; we needed to be morally fit for this special gift.
So G-d told the Jews to undergo a seven week exercise, a process of introspection and self-refinement. We needed to fan our inspirational spark, turning it into a healthy flame of psycho-spiritual illumination and consciousness. 

That seven week exercise culminated in the Holiday of Shavuot, when we received the Torah.

That’s the macro perspective. Now let’s personalize it.

The Seder experience should bring us a paradigm shift, an awakening, to recognize who we need to be. Passover should lift us above our haze, our habitual patterns, our personal Egypts.

So we have a flash of inspiration. But, what happens the next day? We can’t ‘go back to sleep’. We begin a self-betterment program, to translate our inspiration into real character-transformation.

Every year, beginning on Passover’s second day, we re-visit this seven week process, which is known as the 'Counting of the Omer'. On each of its 49 days we focus on developing a different element of the personality. It's like the 49-step program (7 days x 7 weeks) to recovery from ego/impulse-dependency.

 On Sunday night, please count the Omer. Click here for what you’ll need.

http://www.chabad.org/generic_cdo/aid/130631/jewish/Sefirat-HaOmer.htm .

For added meaning, please check out http://www.meaningfullife.com/torah/holidays/8b/Your_Guide_to_Personal_Freedom_-_Week_1.php

 Out of respect for the Holiday, please print out what you’ll need before the weekend,

 We will be sending an e-mail on Monday evening to explore the Omer’s first week, and its relevance to our character development.

 Enjoy your Pesach!

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