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The Triangle of Freedom
Exodus, Creation & the Sabbath
Ariel Bar Tzadok
Copyright © 2015 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.
Exodus is the story of human freedom. The Exodus led to Mt. Sinai, and the giving of the Ten Commandments. The first commandment proclaims that God set us free from bondage. Therefore, human freedom is the underlying prerequisite before one can ever properly shine the Divine light.
There are two recorded versions of the Ten Commandments, one in the Book of Exodus, and the second in the Book of Deuteronomy. In Exodus, the commandment of the Sabbath is ordained “in remembrance of creation,” whereas in Deuteronomy, Sabbath is ordained “in remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt.”
The Sabbath, as is well known, is a time for the cessation of work. Yet, the forbidden Sabbath activities are strictly defined in Rabbinic law to specifically refer to creative activities, and not just to simple manual labor. What then is the relationship between creative physical activity, and the remembrances of the act of creation and the Exodus?
In the beginning, it is the God of nature, Elohim, who creates the Heavens and the Earth. The process of creation required work; effort was made, time was taken. Creation did not happen instantaneously by magic. The final activity of creation was a period of rest, the Sabbath. On the Sabbath, nature achieved and maintained its balance and pristine state. The Sabbath is about respecting, and maintaining the proper order of nature.
The story of the Exodus was written to relate the message of human value and dignity. Israel is set free from under the hand of a harsh, and cruel task master. No human being is supposed to live crushed, and suffering, under the hands of another. Freedom is the highest human right. Individual dignity, and personal value, are presented as Divine rights for all humanity. No one has the right to mistreat another, regardless of their social status. The Exodus is about the proper order of humanity.
Here now is the connection. Humanity is referred to in the Bible by the name of the first man, Adam. The Earth is called Adamah. The relationship between these two words Adam/Adamah is clear, especially to those versed in Biblical Hebrew. Man/Adam comes from the Earth/Adamah. Man is part and parcel of the Earth. Man and the Earth are one.
When Man is violated, and his freedoms not respected, this is equally a violation of the Earth, a violation of the entire natural order. Because Adam is Adamah and Adamah is Adam, the fate and destiny of the two are uniquely combined. Therefore, when Israel was enslaved, and subject to harsh cruelty, the Earth itself was violated, and the Creator of both Man and the Earth, Adam and Adamah, responded.
The Earth itself turned against Egypt. The ten plagues that struck Egypt, were all expressions of natural occurrences, all guided and brought about through the Hand of the One, who brings about Nature herself.
The Sabbath is the original state of rest that came into being only after Man was created. Man, like God, is to work for “six days” and to rest on the Sabbath. Man rests, not because nature needs a rest. Nature never takes a rest. But Man must allow nature to take its course, and allow nature to be as free as is man himself.
For six days, man works. He intervenes, and interferes with nature, putting his mark on creation with all his creative activities. This is by Divine design. Yet, Man must always remember that as much as he can manipulate nature, he is still not nature's Master. This title belongs exclusively to the Creator. Therefore, Man must observe a Sabbath, and refrain from all forms of creative activity on that “day” which can have the influence, or ability to change, or alter the natural order.
This explains the language of the Ten Commandments which calls the Sabbath a “remembrance of the act of creation.” Man is part and parcel of creation, and must learn to work with it, and never against it. This natural state of balance between man and nature, is what helps define us as free, independent, and responsible human beings.
Freedom, and independence, is the message of the Exodus. God brought Israel out of Egypt to become a mature, responsible nation of enlightened souls, whose job would be to serve as role models of natural, balanced living, in harmony with nature. The commandments of the Torah were all designed to create this natural balance within human society, and with our relationship with the Earth itself.
The Exodus reminds us of our responsibility to secure, and maintain, our individual freedoms as human beings. Creation reminds us that we human beings are part of the natural world around us, and that only when we are in balance with nature will we ever known true peace of mind, and rest for the soul. Thus, the Sabbath is a remembrance of the Exodus.
Only a free man can observe the Sabbath internally/psychologically, making it not only a day of rest with nature, but also a day of rest for one's own mind/soul. Freedom is the first step towards bringing inner peace. Sabbath, therefore, reminds us how the state of freedom is our natural state, the state in which we humans were created to live. Thus, the Sabbath is a remembrance of creation.
Remembering the single lesson of the Exodus and creation, and applying it into our personal lives, and mindset, enables us to embrace freedom, first as a state of mind, and only then as a state of being.
Sabbath, the Exodus, and Creation itself, all overlap one another with rich meaning and deep insights. Together, they form an equilateral triangle, a sacred symbol of balance, harmony and alignment. Together, they spell out the greatest “magic word” of all time, F-R-E-E-D-O-M.
The Written Works of Ariel Bar Tzadok
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