The Four Steps Of Liberation

The unfolding experience of liberation enables the knowledge of new aspects of God.

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To be "delivered" may refer to a personal process of dealing with internalized oppression. Here we see the importance of not only removing oneself from the physical situation of oppression, but of removing the internal obstacles to liberation that keep us enslaved.

But liberation cannot remain on the level of the individual. Even if I am successful in achieving some measure of freedom for myself, whether physically and/or psychically, the oppressive situation remains. "Redemption" then refers to a larger process of working with others to address the cause of oppression, to begin to root out those factors that contribute to any type of enslavement or degradation.

But still, it does not end there--for the Israelites were not only freed from slavery, they were freed for the holy work of serving the Ultimate. "And I will take you to be My people" points towards the ultimate goal of our personal and communal freedom: to choose service to that which has ultimate value, beyond the limited human goals of wealth, power, and self-aggrandizement. To serve the Power of Becoming, the Source of Possibility, means envisioning and working to create a world where physical well-being and spiritual fulfillment are possible for every inhabitant of the earth.

To be "taken to" God's service is to embrace the Possibility of Becoming, to be able to see beyond the constraints of this historical moment, with all of its violence and ongoing oppressions, towards a place of liberation. To know God, according to this text, is to experience the reality of moving from a state of slavery to one of freedom. And this is a communal endeavor, the text makes clear: it is not enough to just free myself.

God & Freedom

This piece of God's message ends with the words: "And you shall know that I am YHVH your God, who took you out from under the bondage of Mitzrayim." We come back to what it means to know God/liness in a new way. Through the unfolding experience of liberation, the Israelites will come to truly know God, will have a new awareness of and connection to the Source of Life.

God becomes known in that place where all of us can be free.

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Rabbi Toba Spitzer

Toba Spitzer is the rabbi of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in West Newton, Massachusetts.