“Let my people go, that they may serve me.” (Exodus 7:16; 8:1; 8:20; 9:1; 9:13; 10:3)

"Let my people go, that they may serve me." (Exodus 7:16; 8:1; 8:20; 9:1; 9:13; 10:3)

Passover is intensely meaningful, with the potential to be incredibly spiritually uplifting. Most people I know who have chosen a Torah walk had an early encounter with Passover, which began their journey "out of Egypt."

Observing Passover, one of the lessons you quickly learn is that our freedom did not come so that we could be sovereign, independent agents. Instead, our ownership has simply been transferred from one ruler to another. Instead of crushing servitude to Pharaoh and the dead gods of others, we have been freed in order to serve the living and eternal God. Remember that as you are "slaving away" to remove the chametz from your home and preparing for the holiday!

Our Master said, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:30). But make no mistake: there is yet a yoke and a burden. If you want to be fit for the kingdom of heaven, put your hand to the plow and don’t look back (Luke 9:62).

But what is the difference between one type of servitude and another? Slavery to evil is a condition of hopelessness leading closer and closer to death. Ezekiel described Israel prior to redemption as "wallowing in blood." However, as God redeems them he calls out twice, "through your blood, live!" (Ezekiel 16:6). As Rashi (citing Pirke DeRabbi Eliezer) explains on this verse, "They were redeemed with the blood of the Passover sacrifice and the blood of circumcision."

So in contrast, servitude to God results in life:

"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life." (Romans 6:22)

(How I wish the famous verse that follows was always quoted in context!)

What is this "fruit" he is speaking of? With an awareness of Hebraic symbolism, it is obvious: fruit are deeds, and in this case, acts of righteousness (in other words, observance of commandments) resulting from a redeemed life. These acts lead to sanctification. Sanctification is the process of being made holy. Holiness is being specially designated, marked off, and set apart for divine purposes.

And the end result of being servants of God is being allowed to see the days of Messiah and the life of the world to come. Is all this cleaning worth it? I think so.

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