Dr. Benjy Epstein
Every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.
The moon, unlike the sun, will not cancel the darkness that surrounds it. A dark night, despite the presence of the moonlight, remains. However, in that time and place of darkness, regardless of what has transpired within it, the moon’s light can still be perceived.
In Egypt, a place that embodied personal and national bondage, surrounded by an abyss of despair, a new beginning was granted. A tiny speck of moonlight was given to a single moment. When this gift was handed to the slaves in Egypt, it was offered as ‘a gift of becoming’ with a simple message: in the midst of being bound by your dark, cold chains, you can still feel the opportunity to renew. This was our liberation.
We were constricted, enslaved physically, mentally, and spiritually in the dark night of Egypt, within a system that told us nothing will change. As slaves, we lacked the clarity and precision to know that the freedom to change and transcend time, resided within, not without.
Our entrance into the moonlit Torah, was an entrance that offered us the key to escape servitude for time everlasting. It was freedom from the past, present, and future, enabled by the now. The only way to freedom was through a direct encounter with this moment. The first commandment of blessing the moonlight of the new month was the sanctification of the now, taking this moment back for yourself, choosing to transcend the bonds of time.
This was our instruction on how to truly be free – sanctify the moon, sanctify this moment, the essence of freedom as your means to redemption. The gift of the present is that ultimately it provides the true freedom to unwrap our passions and unhinge from our fears because, right now, I am lit.
The Torah therefore teaches us to remember the Exodus every day and on each holiday. We need to constantly bring ourselves back to the present moment. We need to find the moonlight within, that freedom suspended above any bondage, and let it act as a meditation, as a guide back to the moment. Remember you are free. Remember how to be free. Remember that you never have to be a slave again.