It’s only been recently that I learned to view biblical stories with a new lens. As I prepared for becoming a Bat Mitzvah in early 2015, I grappled with my D’var Torah (literally word of the Torah, or lesson, otherwise known as “the speech”). I went to others for guidance. Friends shared that I ought to go deeper. Don’t be so literal, they’d say. Use the stories as a metaphor. “Elise, what do these stories mean for you at this time?” Or “what do they mean for our culture now?” This opened so much up for me.
The portion of the Torah that I read was the story of the exodus. During Passover, this story is retold. While this is a legend about freedom, like so many, I was stuck on the Egyptians drowning. How could I make sense of this? During the last days of Passover, I was reminded to reflect on this. I struggled as I prepared for my Bat Mitzvah and I continue to struggle. Who are the Egyptians to me? Who or what is enslaving that in me which needs to be free? What is it here and now, in my grief that needs to shift and soften? What in this culture needs to change so that we are living with more love? How can I be more loving?
I know that you cannot answer these questions for me. I invite you to share some of your personal reflections.