The biblical story is one of liberation. Even after we escape actual enslavement, we must constantly disentangle ourselves from habits and addictions. What follows is a great passover essay by Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater reflectiog on what enslaves us today.
Top 10 List of Enslavements
Posted: 04/ 4/2012 4:42 pm
David Letterman has his Top 10, Sports Center has its Top 10, Time has its Top 100 and lots of others have lists too. So, rather than write another article on slavery and the serious issues facing our world, as the Jewish community approaches Passover and as the Christian community approaches Easter, here is my Top 10 List of Enslavements, areas that I think are crucial to look at and explore.
This is my list, which by its nature is incomplete. Feel free to make your own! And unlike the other lists, these are not in value judgement order. In fact, number 10, to me, is the most crushing and most important.
1. We are enslaved to the notion that capitalism and money are an excuse to do anything we want in the name of freedom.
2. We are enslaved to oil and the oil industry thereby being forced to not pursue other sources of energy that are healthier, safer and much more sustainable for our world.
3. We are enslaved to convenience, thereby refusing commonsense changes to our societal system that would make our lives healthier, safer and more sustainable. Think plastic bags, fast food and SUVs.
4. We are enslaved to societal blindness on race, sexual orientation and gender thereby allowing ourselves to ignore the horrible ills that people endure each and every day just for being who they are, human beings created in the image of God.
5. We are enslaved, particularly here in America, to the idea of exceptionalism, which blinds us to learning from other nations and cultures in areas where they may be succeeding better than us.
6. We are enslaved to war as the sole way to solve our greatest challenges.
7. We are enslaved to fear, which in turn closes our hearts and minds, similar to the darkness experienced as the ninth plague in the Bible.
8. We are enslaved to our media, social networks and 24/7 news feed that prohibits us from thinking and analyzing issues in a deep way, thereby affecting our politics, policies and decision making process on many levels.
9. We are enslaved to greed, which lead us to not share our resources with others, particularly food, thereby leaving billions of people hungry in a world that has enough resources to feed everyone.
10. 27 million human beings are physically enslaved today in our world, more people than ever in human history. We are all enslaved by their enslavement.
I welcome you to use these 10 as conversation starters, add to them, discuss them at your holiday tables if you are celebrating this week, and at your dinner tables on any given night. May we all have the courage and strength to work on freeing ourselves from any one of the above, thereby healing and bringing more freedom to our world.
Follow Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rabbijoshua