Exodus from the Narrows

At this time of year the Jewish people celebrate the holiday of Passover in which we tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt, when the Jewish people escaped from slavery and became free.

Although some read the text literally, there are many others who read the story metaphorically. The Hebrew word for Egypt is “Mitzrayim” translated literally as “the narrows.”

What does it mean to be in the narrows? And what does it mean to leave the narrows to become free?

There are many types of Mitzrayim; of “the narrows”. Sometimes the narrows are a physical location in which we find ourselves trapped. Sometimes the narrows are about the relationships in our lives and the constraints they put upon us. But sometimes our Mitzrayims are internal- a narrowness of heart and mind that squeezes and confines us. Leaving such narrowness is indeed a struggle of epic proportions- an Exodus that each one of us may at some point need to embark upon.

Every year Jews are commanded to retell the story of the Exodus, to recall the confinement of Mitzrayim and expansiveness of freedom. It is a holiday that every year invites its participants to feel as though they themselves left Mitzrayim.

I would suggest that the invitation is not merely to remember the Exodus, but to embark upon it. Leaving behind the narrowness in your life can be quite difficult. It can feel like a long and arduous journey. But the rewards of the journey are worth it.

Imagine what it would feel like to escape the narrows of your life; to live in a way that is expansive and open. Imagine what it would feel like to live in a way that honors your values and makes you feel truly free.

In each one of us is the potential for such an Exodus. Our Mitrzayims and our freedoms may be different, but each one of us holds the potential for a meaningful Exodus story, one in which we go from the narrows to more open vistas.

26 thoughts on “Exodus from the Narrows

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