We are living in a momentous time. Miracles are happening left and right. Tyrants are being toppled. Slaves are being freed. Torahs are being given on the mountaintop! The month of Nissan is upon us, a new month, a new year, a new life for the Israelite people! In a few days we’ll be sitting around the Seder plate telling tales of redemption, of rebellion against oppression, of hope and empowerment and lots and lots of plagues. But before all of that happens another, perhaps equally significant, event must be recognized. Yesterday, the 2011 “From Purim to Freedom” Topsy Turvy Teva Bus Tour, officially drew to a close.
Over the course of this tour we have taught a lot of things. We’ve talked about Bal Taschit – not wasting, and about our sacred purpose Le’Ovdah ULe’Shomrah – to work and to protect the Earth. We’ve covered cycles and resources and energy from the sun, and we’ve pushed our students to understand the power of one person to change the world, and the responsibility we each have to use that power. But the most important thing (in my opinion) that we’ve tried to show the world through this tour comes from a verse in the book of Job:
“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.” – Job 12:7-8
Jewish tradition tells us that every aspect of nature has something to say, every part of creation can teach us how to live on this planet. And only through observation and awareness, through understanding the Earth’s systems and incorporating that understanding into our own lives, can we successfully work and protect the world.
A woman named Nina Simone knew this wisdom, and put it into song:
Fish in the sea you know how I feel
River running free you know how I feel
Blossom on the tree you know how I feel
Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling good
This is what the month of Nissan is all about. Seas are splitting! Trees are blossoming! Freedom is in the air! The bus tour is over, but the change we’ve seen and encouraged is just beginning. Now is the time for each of us to find our Egypt, find the systems that enslave us, and leave them behind. It is a new dawn. It is a new day. It is a new life!
And I’m feeling good.
~ The Topsy Turvy Team