This article was originally published in 2018.
Author Joseph Campbell once wrote, “When we hang onto any form, we are in danger of putrefaction.” If we do not let go of the old, the new that is waiting for us cannot be experienced.
It is said that young birds learn to fly by their parents slowly distancing themselves. At each feeding, the parent bird offers the food further and further away encouraging the baby bird to leave the nest and take the risk to fly. We humans are not that different in how we learn to spread our wings. If we are lucky, we have strong parental figures helping us to grow, to mature, and to become adults. Once on our own, we often need to encourage ourselves to let go of comfort and expand into new horizons. In life, we do need to continually grow, or we run the risk of stagnation.
"This week’s portion prepares us for this great journey into freedom."
This week, our inner heart’s calling for change is a voice we can no longer ignore. We are given in these days the assistance from the Universe to release our old ways of thinking and being, to fly into a new world and a new life. We prepare in this week to stand before Passover, a holiday of incredible power, to release us from our old selves and catapult us into a better version of them.
Our portion this week is Tzav. Here we find Aaron and his sons learning the correct practices for the sacrifices on the Tabernacle. However, we know that the Torah is a living book that is always speaking to us in real time. We may read about Aaron and his sons being apprenticed into the ways of sacrificing, yet it is we who learn this week how to sacrifice the parts of our lives that no longer serve us.
We are Aaron, walking towards the Creator, seeing the future we wish to hold, and taking the necessary steps to make it happen.
It is not a coincidence this portion prequels the incredible cosmic gift known as Pesach. This Shabbat is known as Shabbat HaGadol, which in Hebrew means the Great Shabbat. Pesach is the one night of the year that we are given the invaluable opportunity to set ourselves free from negative patterns of behavior and embrace new positive ones. It is a gift of freedom from our own addictions and baggage. This week’s portion prepares us for this great journey into freedom. This week, we are given the courage to burn away the parts of our lives that weigh us down and bring us negativity; self-involved behaviors and fears that hold us back from being all we were born to become. It is when we are open to sacrificing our small desires that we are able to experience a fulfillment of the soul.
I am often reminded of the parable of the Skinny Cow. There was once a poor man who lived meagerly on the milk of one small skinny cow. After living hand to mouth for many years, a wise teacher came for a visit and insisted the man slaughter the cow for his dinner. After heavy reluctance, the man did agree to slaughter his skinny cow. That evening after the meal was through and the teacher had gone, the man was in deep anguish and despair. Having no money and now not even milk to drink, he feared he would starve to death. He prayed alone deep in the forest. There he found a buried treasure enough to make him a wealthy man for the rest of his life. This story shows how when we refuse to let go, we can make things harder for ourselves. Yet if we are open to it, letting go of small desires, can set us free for bigger and better things in life.
"A new world is waiting for you."
In your meditations this week, close your eyes and visualize yourself on a cloud high in the sky. The warm light of the sun shining on your skin. Feel the cool soft air flowing through your hair. Down on the earth are the things you no longer need: old behavior, addictions, envy, ill will, and fears. Let them go. Be willing to trust in your ability to fly and begin a new life. Before you is a wide open sky of endless possibilities; if only you are open to taking that leap and trying your new wings for the first time. Knowing the Creator is watching and your guardian angels are with you, take that leap.
This week, a new world is waiting for you. Take that first step, open wide your heart and wings, and soar into your new life.