In service one seems to have a relative degree of independence, and his/her work is the result of his/her choice based on a mutually convenient accord. In contrast, slavery implies forced service or labor against the will of who provides his work. We know the difference and we must raise the distinction in order to approach this decisive period of our Jewish history.
Our oral tradition tells that Ham, the raven and the dog were the only ones who transgressed God's order to abstain from sexual intercourse inside Noah's ark during the Flood. Esau shared similar traits that destined him to serve the higher consciousness represented by Jacob. These precedents of slavery or servitude are clear references to examine our ancestors' bondage as servitude in Egypt.
The first portion of Shemot reveals two aspects of slavery: the more we are assimilated into a reality contrary to our true Essence and identity, the more we enslave our consciousness to values, patterns and lifestyles that deny our real purpose in this world. Ironically, as we have said many times, in the darkness of exile's alien reality --equalized to ego's materialistic fantasies and illusions-- is where we force ourselves to search for freedom.
The ideal “best work is the best play” is a remote childhood memory when mowing the grass, painting the fence, and shinning dad's shoes were the most enjoyable works to play because we loved to do them. Love is what reminds us of our true identity, and the reason why life and God's Creation exist. We find no meaning in anything we do or may have if Love is not their cause and effect.
This invites us to discern again on the circle and the pyramid as opposite models, about how we relate to each other as individuals, and in society as a whole. The circle rejects categories, levels, casts, upper or lower, because we are all equal in the eyes of God. There we are commanded to follow His ways and emulate His attributes as the common denominator of our Jewish identity. This is one of the primordial principles of Judaism, and the Torah presents the children of Israel as the family whose circle is the Light for the nations, and these to emulate the Jewish model. The circle is the result of Love's ways and attributes as the material reflections of God's Love, and we understand His Love by following His Commandments.
“They will make war against you but will be unable to defeat you, because I am with you, says the Lord to deliver you.” (Jeremiah 1:19) and “Days are coming when Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill the face of the Earth like fruit.” (Isaiah 27:6)