Friday, April 28, 2017

I am Free

Written by  Rabbi Jan Dodi

I am free. That was the theme of Passover this year. And the question was: What does it mean to be free? Responses to this simple question took a while for us to put together. We don’t often think of ourselves as free. We should. In my daily prayers I give thanks for making me free. But what is this freedom?

I often think that it is the freedom to think what I want without being told how to think, do what I want (within reason), and be who I want. We were asked that question yesterday at prayer services. Most answers were that we could speak our minds. No one answered that they were free to make the decision to come and pray together. I found that a bit strange.

After thinking about it for a while (mostly during this writing), it became clear to me that most people take for granted the freedom of religion. For that matter, freedom of speech, press, and even freedom of love. The group that I choose to pray with are close to my age, mostly married with grown kids or recently lost a spouse. Very few are under the age of 40. We grew up during the same time, we protested the same things, and we support each other in our lives and commitments to those we love.

So, when asked what it meant to be free, they had to think about it. Many said they were free to protest (at least for now), to differ with our leaders, to speak out against wrongs. I am proud of the people I associate with in prayer. We are like-minded. But no one said we are free not to be arrested because of who we love. Although they did make comments against the regime that would close our borders and keep people out or put people out.

I believe our freedom comes at a big cost. If we are free, it is an obligation upon each of us to help ensure that others are free. Today, it is easy to pick a cause and work for it to demand freedom for others. We need to protect our immigrant citizens, protect the families that are being separated and deported, protect the refugees trying to find freedom, reach out to the world to see the concentration camps being filled with gay males in Chechnya that are not being reported in the news and find ways to free them.

We have the freedom to do something or nothing. To pray, to speak, to write letters, to lend a helping hand. What moves us to action is different for each of us. I believe that it is something deep inside us. Something calling us to action. You do not have to name what calls you, you may not be able to name it. But you feel it and it moves you. Call it what you want, but more importantly, heed the call. Let whatever spirit moves you, move you! Take some action for something you believe in. Let your inner spirit guide you to action.

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