We took the training wheels off of Henry’s bicycle. He hasn’t perfected his riding skills with the training wheels, but he insisted. Henry wants to ride like the big kids and didn’t hesitate jumping on as soon as the wheels were removed.
Did he magically start riding? Not even close. A few falls, some bruises. Huge smiles and an eagerness to keep trying. I found myself envious and encouraged by his tenacity. Why does a five year old jump so high without concern when so many of us concentrate on the long way down? While his lack of inhibition may result from lack of understanding, I often wish there was a special preschool balm to apply when adults need a little boost to start something that feels slightly out of reach.
We are nearing the final days of the Pesach holiday. Soon we will put the dishes away, clear out the matza, and Passover 2021 will be stored in mental memories and iPhone archives. But the exodus from Egypt continues to be told through our daily and Shabbat prayers. A reminder that striving for freedom is a story that must be revisited over and over again. Otherwise, we might lose the urgency to fight for justice and disable our ability to see past what looks ultimately hopeless.
We must invoke liberation to bolster our spirits when we have been trained to believe that a goal isn’t ours to attain. How many times have you heard: You’re too young. You’re too old. It’s not your time. I don’t think you’re ready. Others are bigger, faster, more important. You should wait. Take a back seat.
But here’s some advice from a five year old. Freedom is only ours if we’re willing to see ourselves without an imprisoned soul. Take off your training wheels. You will most likely fall. But you just might fly.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.