Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog

Letter from the Rabbi – In Praise of Freedom, Part II

Imagine you are alone on a desert island. There's no one to tell you what to do; you can live wholly without restriction. Of course, after a while, you would stop relishing your "freedom". That kind of life is not true freedom; it is a life of loneliness and sterility.

When I was discussing Passover in one class recently, I asked what freedom was about. The first answer I got was "the right to express yourself." Indeed, free expression is one of the central principles of a free society, like in the United States.

But freedom of expression is very important on a personal level too. Even when we are surrounded by other people, we can still feel we are on a desert island. If I feel myself totally alone – an individual without real relationships, not truly part of a community – am I free to express myself? Not really, I think. I can truly express who I am only to people I can trust, people who care for me and will listen to me.

Let us remember, this Passover, that our true freedom lies in relationship and in community. Let our own Exodus be from loneliness to relationship, as we reach out to each other, and get to know cherish each other. Through those caring relationships we will all find our dignity and our freedom.

I wish you all a happy – and heart-warming – Passover!

Rabbi Anthony Elman Rabbi Anthony Elman serves as Rabbi of the Jewish Home's Grancell Village Campus. His professional background is multifaceted, encompassing the fields of law, social work, and psychotherapy. Rabbi Elman has been with the Home since his ordination and graduation from the Academy for Jewish Religion-California in May 2007

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