Today I was asked what “liberation” means to me.
I had to think a moment. But what I came to is that it means all of who I am. The wholeness of me. The hebrew word shelymut comes to mind. This is the same root system as the word shalom-peace. Shelymut as a concept is completeness and wholeness. Liberation means the freedom to be all of who I am at any one moment. That is when I am truly free. It is when the Divine life source flows freely through me and into the world through me. That is when I can work to transform the physical world and liberate it from the constrictions and constructions that keep justice, hope and love from being present. This flows into the political realm as well. My knowledge and the truth of my spiritual liberation can not be squashed by political inequality that I experience as a lesbian in this society. I refuse to give in to the oppression around me even as there are portions of my life affected by it.
This week’s Torah portion, Beshallach, captures the moment of joy and liberation for the Children of Israel. They are liberated from Egypt physically as they safely cross the Yam Suf-The Sea of Reeds escaping Pharoah and his army. They rejoice by dancing and singing led by Miriam the prophetess, Moses’ sister. They are physically liberated but they are not yet fully liberated. They are not fully free because they are not yet spiritually free. This will come in later episodes.
But the spiritual journey of freedom is not just one moment in time-it is a process of becoming, of evolving and thus liberation is part of the ongoing struggle for wholeness. I am working on mine. Are you on the journey?