Our own prisons

Our own prisons

Rabbi Aryeh Levin was called the Holy Man of Jerusalem. He spent his adult life in Israel, where he visited prisoners, bringing them comfort, food, spiritual sustenance.

Once after Passover some of the Jewish prisoners told Rabbi Aryeh that although the seder had been good, something important was missing: Because they were in prison, they could not perform the traditional rite of opening the door for Elijah, an act that invites redemption, for Elijah is the herald of the messiah. Surely there was no enslavement more absolute than the inability to coax forth redemption.

Rabbi Aryeh replied, “Every man is in a prison of his own self. He cannot leave by going out of the house but only by passing through the door of the heart. And to make an opening for himself in his own heart, that anyone can do, even a prisoner behind bars. And then he will be in true spiritual freedom.”

At each significant moment during the year, each of us should seek to understand where we are enslaved and open the door to our heart. That door is the portal of goodness, repentance, and faith.


This is an excerpt from “Floating Takes Faith” by Rabbi David Wolpe and is reprinted with permission from its publisher, Behrman House.