After the rabbi’s sermon this Shabbat (R’ Adin Steinzaltz in the Chabad shul of the old city), I found myself trying to classify psychological resistances. I tried to figure how many levels of resistance exist. A resistance happens when we’re stuck in some kind of pattern of behavior that we can’t break out of. It comes into play when there is a growth step in front of us, and we’re afraid to take it. An example is a person who perpetually eats foods that are not healthy, even though he knows that such foods are not good for him. He is resistant to changing his eating patterns. You might call that a “daily resistance.” Then, you have others whose resistance is in the area of personal relationships. They may be shy, and find it difficult to change the nature of their personality in order to crawl out of their shell and form relationships. You might call that a “yearly resistance,” because it may take years to overcome. Finally, there are those who are born with a certain natural personality. Some people are intellectual by nature, for example. They love to study and think and meditate. They are filled with amazement at every new thing that they learn. So, it is very difficult for them to break out of their nature and get involved with tikun olam – with social involvement and “fixing the world.” I’m going to call that a “lifetime resistance,” because to overcome it, one has to change not only the personality with which they grew up, but their genetic nature from birth. So, we have here three different levels – one who has to change his behavior, though not necessarily his personality. Another has to change his personality, from introverted to extroverted. The third has the greatest challenge of all; he must change his nature, and that is virtually impossible. Who among us is able to make a switch from the way he was born, to some other kind of nature? It is much easier to change the nature of your personality than to change your pesonal nature. Yet, that’s what we are called upon to do on Pesach. We’re called to “bust a move.” And that is why Rabbi Steinzaltz closed his drasha by telling us that it is not enough to eat the matza and maror and drink the wine. We also have to “bust a move,” to break on through to the other side, each according to his own challenges. During the original Pessach, the Jews made a move – they left Egypt behind. We are called on to do the same next Friday night – each of us to look for the personal mitzrayim (Egypt but also “limitations”) and leave it behind. That’s the Pesach challenge – the rest is up to us.
For more information, go to www.jerusalemconnection.org/weekly And if you really want to delve deeply, try www.jewishspiritualbooks.com Finally for a view of daily life in Jerusalem, go to www.chabadjerusalem.org
Chag kasher v’sameach!