My friend Larry Mitchell, who recently started blogging, wrote a post yesterday reflecting on his impending move back “home” to New York City from Cleveland, where he has been living for the last several years.
Speaking to his rabbi, Larry said that it felt to him as though he were leaving Egypt. The rabbi’s response is that we are always leaving Egypt. Although the rabbi’s comment was addressed in the first instance to the Jews, for whom Egypt “is as much a state of mind as a place,” the reflection the comment prompted in my friend is thought-provoking for everyone, not only those of the Jewish faith.
And so it is, I learned, that we not only leave Egypt every day, but we also each day incorporate the meaning of our holidays. More than that, we incorporate each one of the 613 mitzvot — each commandment — even those performed only by Kohanim, even only those that are to be performed in the temple in Jerusalem when it existed and when it is rebuilt, even though we might not in fact perform any of them.
And this got me thinking. If all of this is within us every day, then we are, in fact, complete. All of what we are is within us. We are, simply put, our potential. We are always leaving. We are always arriving. We are always becoming…
But your potential is in you. Every day, we are leaving Egypt. And what is the consequence of leaving? Arriving. For every departure there is an arrival. And you can arrive at completion simply by the realization that you are your potential, you are complete. You only need to be mindful of that fact, attentive to your constant state of becoming, aware of your constant departures and arrivals. And, by arriving, you do something. You come out of yourself to engage the world.
All you have to do to achieve your potential is to leave Egypt. I’m on my way.
What does it mean to you to leave Egypt?