Subscribe to our Newsletter

click to dowload our latest edition



Up up and away

Avatar photo



I’m writing this as my plane is rolling down the runway about to soar into the skies and transport me out of my comfort zone. There’s music playing in my ears, and I feel a sense of disconnection.

I always marvel, looking out of the plane window, how small and insignificant we really are. Zoomed out, we look like little busy ants, scuttling around, sometimes chasing our own tails, mostly without purpose.

Everyone is rushing somewhere, doing something. We do it all day. Then, we collapse at the end of the day, to simply wake up and press repeat. And then there are times in our lives that we have to change the gears into overdrive … like now.

Pesach is around the corner, and my mind simply goes into overdrive with all the items I need to prepare. So, out comes the phone, the task manager, the recipe app, the guest list.

And then I stop.

Up here, looking down, can I perhaps entertain the notion that I could do things differently? After all, aren’t we supposed to be moving from slavery into freedom, and here I am shackled and enslaved into a frenzied preparation and a hectic yom tov marathon. And that’s on top of the pressurised life we’re living day to day, carving out a living, raising a family, managing relationships, (and load shedding, water cuts, fibre down) – I guess you get my drift.

So, can I really move from being enslaved to the vicissitudes of life to a state of freedom? Or do I accept the status quo, and just get caught up in the frenzy with every other Joburg Jewish mom about the price of matzah, the lack of mayonnaise, and very real stress of preparing a seder for 35 people.

Up here, on the plane, things are so quiet, serene, relaxed. There are no traffic jams, nowhere to go, nothing to do. The captain manages the navigation, and the crew is looking after all our needs. Sit back, take a deep, long breath, glide through the clouds, and observe the patched earth pass you by.

Shhhhhh …. I sense a message that perhaps there’s a lesson to be learnt here.

Let’s face it, the undeniable truth is that we’re all enslaved to the pursuit of success, material wealth, honour, relationships – fill in the blank. Ultimately though, every human being on the planet seeks peace of mind, serenity, fulfilment, love, and purpose.

But we’re distracted by our taskmasters constantly, especially one who is unrelenting and unforgiving. And who might that be? Our mind, of course! It’s here where we’re subjugated constantly to thoughts of fear, anxiety, helplessness, anger, control, low self-esteem, and then it’s all translated into the frenetic life we live.

So if one wants to move into a state of freedom, one needs to work at one’s core.

Step one: start by letting go of all these destructive thoughts. Let go, and know there’s a captain of the world. He’s doing all the navigating, and he’s also looking after you, sending his “crew” to assist you.

Step two: put yourself into a space of quietness, and contemplate how G-d has in fact given you so much. Write down a list of things you can be grateful for. Not what you’re missing. You actually have whatever you need to live right now, your lack is simply the captain saying you don’t need this right now (separate that from what you want).

Step three: seek purpose and direction in your life. In the quiet, ask yourself where you’re going.

Did you know that just prior to the redemption in Egypt, we lost 80% of our people in the plague of darkness! Four-fifths of our nation never made it out of Egypt! Why? The miracles were abounding, great things were happening, and the scent of redemption was in the air. Egypt had almost been brought to her knees, and as they say in South Africa, it was “min dae”.

The answer is that for most of our brethren, the only reality they knew was one of slavery and subjugation, and even though they yearned to throw off the shackles of servitude, they were still very much embroiled in their “comfort zone”. They simply couldn’t let go of their current reality and see a different world, in which we serve a higher being, not a pharaoh nor ourselves. Or, translated in the language of 2023, could we live in a world that isn’t dictated by our bank accounts, our holiday home, or our status. Can we?

Ponder that a while. Up here, it’s easy to think and gain some clarity on one’s trajectory. It’s time to set the compass and change direction this erev Pesach.

Soon, my plane will be descending to my destination, and I’ll join the army of ants again, busy as ever. Except this time, I’ll embark knowing that G-d is leading me to where I should be, to accomplish things that need to be done.

While my body will be doing all the work (because, hey, someone has to prepare for Pesach), I’m going to try and keep my mind up there in a state of peace and tranquillity, knowing that everything has been taken care of.

There’s a captain keeping a watchful eye, and I’m going to trust and have faith, knowing that while this world is tempestuous and hard to navigate, I am, in reality, free. Free to serve something greater than me, to be of service to others, and to make this world a better place.

In fact, this Pesach, I’ll do it all differently. I’ll drink the four wine cups of redemption and throw off my self-limiting thoughts; I’ll chew humble pie (matzah); and ask how I can be of service to G-d and others. I’ll lean into the true meaning of freedom, and change my reality. Please fasten your seatbelt and prepare the cabin – er myself – for redemption.

Wishing you all a chag kasher vesameach!

  • Rebbetzin Aidel Kazilsky is a radio and television host and an inspirational speaker who teaches the wisdom of Torah and applies it to contemporary times.

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Andy Korman

    Mar 30, 2023 at 6:20 pm

    Aidel, I hope I can feel the freedom you are feeling on the plane in my real life knowing our captain, Hashem is taking care of me and all Am Yisrael – your article was inspiring and as beautifully expressed as always. Hag pesach sameach ve kasher to you and us all ❤️🙏

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *