"Blessed are You, Adonai, for not making me a slave" (Morning Blessings Continued)
Seeing ourselves as not Slaves was a huge challenge for our ancestors in the Wilderness. This was their constant struggle: having left the physical bonds of slavery, how do they leave the mental, emotional and spiritual bonds of slavery. Herein lies the struggle for all of us.
Throughout human history, the call to be enslaved has been strong, both because of the enslaver and because of each of us. There has been, is now and always will be people who want to exert power by enslaving others; be it a dictator, a racist, an anti-semite, a boss, etc. They are not what this prayer is about, as I understand it.
The call of this prayer is to each of us to stop being slaves to our false egos, our "need to be right", status, etc. We can become slaves to Religious Behaviorism as Rabbi Heschel teaches. We can become slaves to other people's opinions, actions, attentions, etc. There are so many ways we can become slaves and this prayer, coming right after we acknowledge our pure souls, reminds us that God doesn't make us slaves! It also teaches us that we have to choose to be slaves and reminds us that we have the choice and the power and the blessing to not be a slave, rather to be free
1) Who am I enslaving and how do I set them free?
2) How do I not blame others for my enslavements?
3) What are the ways I live free and how can I grow them?