Last week (and continuing through April 29), the Jewish people have been celebrating Passover, which commemorates one of the most epic stories in history: the transition from slavery to freedom for the Israelites, their Exodus from Egypt and their entrance into the Promised Land.
Just as the Jews in Biblical times achieved their dream of freedom and self-determination, many of the elements of the Exodus story serve as metaphors for how we can achieve our own dreams today.
1. Don't panic -- you won't drown.
Take the plunge! As the Israelites were being chased by the Egyptians, they approached the Red Sea, because there was no other direction to go. Nachshon, one of the leaders, walked into the waves until the water reached his waist, then his chest and then his head.
At that moment, according to the Torah, the sea parted, affording the Israelites an escape route. This is a powerful lesson that says that, in order to achieve our dreams, we must take the leap, move forward regardless and not worry about "drowning." If we do that, we will conquer the obstacle, and the metaphorical sea that faces us will part, allowing us to go forward toward the Promised Land.
2. Keep your ego in check.
Check your ego! As the Jews were leaving Egypt, they didn't have time to let the dough rise in the loaves of bread they were baking, so they ended up eating flat matzah instead of leavened bread.
On a mystical level, certain sources maintain that the flatness and lack of air in matzah is a metaphor for keeping your ego in check and not getting too "puffed up" and arrogant. Staying humble and keeping your ego in check will help you accomplish your dreams. If you get too arrogant or full of yourself, you risk becoming myopic and are less likely to achieve what you set out to do.
3. Support, and be supported by, a community.
Support is key! When the Israelites wandered in the desert, they supported one other, and in doing so were able to survive the harsh climate. The moral is to not be an island. In other words, support others, and be supported by others in return.
Most importantly, be open to accepting support. It's an important element in achieving your dreams.
4. Don't be afraid to close the deal.
Commit to the deal! When the Israelites finally reached the borders of the land of Israel, Moses sent in a group of 12 spies to inspect the land and report on conditions, so that the nation would be prepared to enter the land.
When the spies returned, they gave a negative report that said the land was inhabited by giants that frightened them and that the Israelites shouldn't go forward. According to scripture, this caused God to condemn the nation to wander 40 years in the desert.
The moral of the story is that, when you're on the threshold of achieving your dream, go ahead and close the deal. In other words, take the leap and don't be afraid. Do that and you will enter your own Promised Land.