Homegoing: A Mid-journey Mini-Reflection
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
I find myself mid-air, weightless, en route to re-enacting my family's freedom journey. My children delighting in each other's silliness, sharing space and time. I'm finally reading a book that's been waiting for months. And I'm reading it because I am in control of my own choices, mostly in charge of my own time.
But most of all, my redemption song is one I must labor to remember through elaborate, rituals, annual and daily. I could forget my own oppression. Not really, but sort of.
And this is where the pain begins. This eloquent novelization by Yaa Gyasi African slavery (set in Ghana, where my soul was torn open by an encounter with modern slavery just a few years ago) is rife with painful detail, one of which hits me hardest in this moment of family pilgrimage:
What if I couldn't be sure I could see my own children, that strangers could legally tear them from me? What if my blessed childhood, an experience of privilege I can barely comprehend, weren't a stable grounding for my future? I certainly would never would have become the me I today recognize. And the profound gift of fatherhood would be a shattering loss I could never, and will never, choose to imagine.
All this is a real story that has defined America, has defined my entire life from a place of invisible and ongoing oppression. The New Jim Crow that finds a new accursed name in every generation, just as Jews will recite in the Hagaddah tomorrow night of the ongoing evil of antisemitism.
I can barely fathom my own story, let alone this one. But that is the work ahead:
We are called to be present, engaged, and active in God's unfinished world until every person is free. If that isn't a call we feel and labor to answer, we have no right to our own freedom songs.
May we be blessed to be part of the great work ahead. And may it be unnecessary one day soon, please God.
#BuildOnLove #OlamChesed #Passover #seder #haggadah #spirit #freedom #homegoing