by Leah Robbins, Administrative and Marketing Assistant
This Passover has me thinking a lot about what liberation looks like to me. I wish I could say that the poignancy of our own liberation narrative, from slavery to freedom, have inspired in me words of transformation and moments of comfort and hope. But to be honest… I’ve got nothing. I’ve been racking my brain for any creative niceties that will put my heart at ease. I turn out to face the world, and I cannot see past the horrific, inexcusable suffering seeping into every crack and crevice of our planet. I see pipelines bursting, people slamming doors in the faces of refugees, people killing black and brown bodies without question, without remorse, without consequence, bombs, airstrikes… the twisted, dystopian list continues.
It appears that with each passing day, evil grows exponentially, along with our collective grief and my own bubbling rage. Of course, I can’t claim to know how to uproot oppression. I can’t claim to know how to ameliorate the anguish of millions. I can’t claim to know what liberation looks like for anyone or what it will really take to get us there. But there is one thing I do know.
I know that truth and justice are woven through the fabric of Judaism. Triumphant tales of radical compassion, mutual aid, and revolutionary resistance are etched into the eternal words of Torah. The tools to disrupt wickedness to intervene on behalf of the silenced, to reinvent, reimagine, and rebuild a righteous world, are embedded within our spiritual tradition.
I see Mayyim Hayyim as a key player in this work of spiritual resistance against slammed doors and hardened hearts. I see Mayyim Hayyim as an extension of a tradition rooted in the kind of compassion it takes to reinvent a world we’d be proud to live in. I see the mikveh itself as a spiritual tool for clarity and whole-body rejuvenation for those of us engaged in challenging resistance work.
Of course, there is no space free from the influences of the outside, and Mayyim Hayyim is no exception; but I have seen the mikveh’s other-worldly ability to break down barriers, open hearts, and catalyze people into action. I have seen our mission of inclusivity, accessibility, and commitment to accountability transform Jewish ritual life and open doors for the most marginalized among our own people. I have heard testimony of the power of the liminal space under the mikveh waters; waters that never fail to provide a brief, but welcome, respite from the tumultuous outside, a moment of peace, a glimpse of a world that could be.
This Passover, I am regrettably no closer than I was last year to understanding what that honest, just world will look like. But when I wake up in the morning, wipe the sleep from my eyes, and spring out of slumber into the reality of the world we live in, I am comforted in remembering that somewhere in our history, somewhere in our sacred texts, and somewhere under the living waters, lie the spiritual tools to pursue a justice so thunderous, it will jolt the earth.