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The Passover Journey: (Zen Steps To Freedom) A Jewish Koan

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Passover Journey

The Passover Journey: (Zen Steps to Freedom, Jewish Koans for All)

Passover is a universal journey to the Promised Land, a world governed by beauty, love and harmony. This is a journey we all long to make, one which takes place both within and without. There are steps to take as we pass through the constrictions in our lives, as a path to freedom opens. This journey can also be called a Jewish koan. A koan is a Zen question that does not have a logical or rational answer. A response comes when a deeper we touch a deeper source of wisdom within and the truth is revealed.

The Passover koan begins with a Call and a Response. The people who are being bitterly enslaved Cry out for help. A response comes from the divine. Moses is guided to approach Pharoah, the ruler of Egypt and demand, “Let My People Go.” Needless to say, Pharoah, the force within and without that seeks to dominate, control and replace the divine, refuses. The plagues come along to shake Pharoah of his complacence, but he continually hardens his heart. For the plagues to end, his heart and our hearts must open, and we all must obey the call of the divine.

This koan asks, Who is Calling, Who listens, Who responds? How do we truly hear the Calls upon our life?

Today, our speech, cries, and ability to be heard have been disrupted. But our connection with the Divine is ever present. In the Passover journey we see that whatever happens, whomever we meet, whatever we see is not random, but we are being addressed. Everything is a call and demands a response. Do we truly listen, hear and respond?

A part in us all resembles Pharoah, standing in opposition to the call to freedom. Pharoah is the insane ego trying destroy our lives. He infuses us with a sense of hopelessness insisting that we are slaves to material forces we cannot escape. But none of this is true. Those who turned to Pharoah for security could not leave their enslavement. They died in the plague of darkness. But our connection with the Divine can never be interrupted. We must simply become open and available to the call of the divine, to truly listen. And respond. Then we will break free from plagues, slavery and hopelessness.

Zen Steps On The Journey to The Promised Land

There are Zen Steps To Freedom. Here is a summery and a way to practice them in your everyday life.

1) Become Silent, Listen and Hear The Call Coming To You.Be open and see each encounter as an opportunity to meet the divine.

2) Turn Away From The Pharoah Within. Give up opposition, control and domination.

3) Let Go of Your Identity As A Slave and Victim. A false identity will enslave you. Connect with the divine strength within all.

4) Enter the Promised Land. The promised land is within all. Even as we take these steps, we are already in the Promised Land.

Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.D. psychologist, author, speaker and long term practitioner of both Judaism and Zen. She offers talks and programs on all aspects of Zen practice, including, Judaism and Zen, (Living and Loving our Jewish Koans), and Zen and Relationships, (The Simple Laws of Love) and more. Brenda offers a weekly podcast, Zen Wisdom for Your Everyday Life. Her website is, and email is

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