It TAkEs More than A Master to Make a slave

Modern Day Slavery
Originally uploaded by sume
Sometimes I write in order to try and get my mind into my heart and possibly around something that is so “whoa” that I am stunned in it’s presence. Reading through a book by a Rabbi, Lawrence Kushner , I was stunned by something so simple and, yet, deep.

He is talking about the “I am” of God. He is talking about how God names himself. First he writes that when God says, “I am the Lord your God…who brought you out of bondage,” that in essence the whole long phrase is a Name. “This is a God who is, above all, a God of freedom. God’s name is ‘the One who carries slaves to freedom’” If you are confused, just think of Native American names like in the movie “Dances with Wolves;” the name describes the character of the person. Which could get me in a whole diatribe at how pathetic our western names can tend to be – for example, the name “Bill” means…wait for it… Helmet.

Kushner talks about how this Name that God uses gives a definition of place to the people He is referring. In this case, they are slaves in Egypt. Before getting into all this Kushner says of any individual: “To utter the ‘I am’ is to want nothing else and, strange though it sounds, to want nothing else is the necessary prerequisite for all genuine growth. Growth must begin with self-acceptance. You cannot become someone other than who you are until you know who you are. And you cannot know who you are until you accept who you are right now and in this place. “ For all the potential Dr. Phil-sihness sounding vernacular, there is something profound being said. In essence, until you stop trying to be someone else, deal with the person in the mirror, the person under your skin, you can’t move on. And in this context, the way you come to learn and accept who you are right now is only in connection with who God is. Whoa.

What is interesting is how Kushner explains slavery: “liberation from slavery comes from acceptance of how we behave and of who we are… The slaves who were freed from Egypt were not freed until they could acknowledge and understand their own participation in their slavery. It takes more than a master to make a slave. Try saying that in today’s victim-based society and see what kind of response you get. Granted it will be those that have spent some time in the realm of the 12-step programs that “get” how true this is. You can’t get free until you admit you aren’t free, and that you’ve given someone or something else the rights to Master you. Hmmm.

Moving out of the heady, pseudo-theological world and into my own back yard, I am simply reminded that when God calls himself by a name it isn’t just some high lofty, egotistic statement. He’s actually trying to give me a clue as to who I am, too. If I listen, I might just hear something that does more to change my life than any self-help book ever will. And the person who was most present when God first said this name, that Aleph, on the mountain was Moses. You know what you likely heard from him?