When multiple people come to a similar conclusion, it’s often prudent to take note. It may mean a universal truth is calling.

This week, because Passover is about freedom and Shavuot is about receiving the Torah and setting goals and purposes, and because we are in between the two, I asked committee members to consider what gives them a sense of freedom, and what gives them a sense of purpose.

After a few minutes we went around the room to share our answers.

The freedom responses involved physical mobility, being in a position to make decisions and access to rights. The responses to purpose had to do with helping others, helping organize things for others, and being able to implement ideas which could impact others.

As you may know we count “The Days Of The Omer” during this time of year. These are a series of days prescribed in the Bible, during which we count upwards from the second night of Passover to Shavuot (Sinai and receiving the Torah). The rabbis, in wondering about this counting, note that freedom for its own sake doesn’t have too deep a meaning. Freedom is great, but freedom for what, is the question! Freedom to live how? Freedom to create what?

For the Israelites, it’s when they received the Torah at Sinai, 49 days after their liberation from Egypt, that their newfound freedom came into focus. They now had a freedom to serve a higher ideal, freedom to create a new society, freedom to undo the trauma of slavery, and freedom to imbue the world with a new kind of vision.

What was true for the Rabbis and for the Israelites is true for us. Freedom is wonderful but adding a focus gives purpose to our time and energy.

It is no accident that in our meeting each of us wanted physical, emotional and action-oriented freedom …. and then for each of us purpose meant carrying out the things we were now free to do, in a way that could impact others – and experience the good feelings that came with that impact.

I came across a wonderful quote by Pablo Picasso that says it all:

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose is to give it away.”

Now go seek that out.

Blessings and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Biller