As a kid, sitting with my family around our dining room table for the Passover
Seder, when I wasn’t dreading “singing” the Four Questions in a way that would
make Simon Cowell finally pack it in, or being clearly identified as the “simple
son” by my older sister, the concept of being rescued by Moses sounded very
After all, what could be better than a guy showing up when you
are at your wit’s end to righteously demand, and actually attain, your freedom?
To me, tagging along with a cool-looking elderly guy with a magic staff and
supernatural powers to salvation seemed like an excellent
Moses sounded awesome! Indeed, who among us wouldn’t love to
have all of our troubles swept away and the injustices inflicted upon us
rectified by an omniscient holy man, who did all the heavy lifting?
Who doesn’t want to be saved?
HOWEVER, I have learned in no uncertain terms that
waiting for Moses – or anyone else – to step in and save the day is a sucker’s
bet. This is because the only meaningful freedom in this world is achieved
I have met countless people in my life who are waiting to
be saved from Pharaohs of their own making – be it an addiction, unfulfilling
career, bad marriage or relationship, bad decisions, bad mortgage, bad
self-esteem or generally self-damaging lifestyle.
Their stories are as
varied as snowflakes, and frequently heartbreaking.
But they share one
fatal common denominator that prevents them from finding the freedom they so
desperately seek: The inability – or even refusal – to save
Millions of us perpetually, and passively, wait for that one
phone call, email or chance encounter that will change our lives forever. That
one miracle that will finally set us free from whatever it is that ails us,
giving us the lives we truly deserve.
Of course, that miracle almost
never comes. Nor should it.
MANY OF us spend an alarmingly wasteful
portion of our lives enslaved by our inner Pharaoh – a Pharaoh we have
personally engineered, frequently with astounding efficiency, who prevents us
from finding the very freedom we think eludes us.
The good news is that
we also have the power to banish that Pharaoh into oblivion and replace him with
our own inner Moses, who will help propel us to a far better
However, finding Moses does not come without hard work and
Indeed, channeling him requires an uncommon level of
humility, self-awareness and perseverance – but not a miracle.
It takes a
willingness to candidly evaluate the realities obstructing our lives,
determining how to best address them, and then the fortitude, sacrifices and
courage to move forward to make the necessary changes.
Not an easy
proposition, I know.
ISRAEL MAY very well be the world’s premier model
for this empowering and independent way of thinking.
Among the most
important lessons that living here teaches you is self-reliance, teamwork,
courage under fire and not to wait for – or expect – help of any kind.
is ironic that in the holiest land of all – indeed, God’s country – it is known
that one should not expect a miracle, but rather rely on oneself. Yet it is
precisely this lesson that has propelled this land, and its absurdly outnumbered
inhabitants, to genuinely miraculous heights.
Israel teaches one
unequivocal and invaluable truth, and that is this: The only force capable of
saving this nation against incomparably poor odds must be found from
Waiting for Moses is not an option around here.
women and children of this country are raised to understand that salvation from
a Pharaoh of any kind is achieved through an unflinching and pitiless assessment
of reality, accompanied by proactive and humane thinking and actions that will
improve their lives.
If Israelis waited to be saved by miracles from an
otherwise decidedly perilous fate, they would have been dead long ago – several
times over. It is their willingness to challenge the odds independently, as one,
and without self-pity, that truly makes them exceptional, and the lone democracy
in a region shrouded by Pharaohs.
THIS PASSOVER I will continue to marvel
at the divine heroics of Moses and what he did for the Jews, with the wonderment
of a child. However, I will also know that waiting for him to make all of this
nation’s problems go away is childish.
The most valuable lesson the
people of Israel have taught me is that we must rely upon ourselves in the face
of harrowing odds. It is this recognition that has truly set them
Jew or non-Jew, make your own exodus to freedom – but don’t wait
for Moses to save you.
Take it from the Sabras: Be your own