Dr. King’s Message From God

The importance of freedom from mental slavery

Jeffrey Kass

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Image: Shutterstock/Rudall30

Each week, Jews worldwide read a scheduled section of the Hebrew Bible.

It just so happens, the stories in this MLK weekend’s portion is about the Jews preparing to be free from slavery in Egypt. It’s a well known story that nearly every freedom movement connects with.

There are no coincidences about the timing of this reading.

God in this last weekend’s Torah reading gives his first directive in Exodus, Chapter 6, Verse 13.

It’s literally God’s first commandment to the Hebrews. To the enslaved Jewish nation.

“So God spoke to Moses and Aaron, and He commanded them to the children of Israel, and to Pharaoh the Ruler of Egypt, to let the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.”

Of all the 613 commandments in the Hebrew Bible, this is a strange first one.

God first commands the children of Israel about freeing slaves, and only after commands Pharaoh to end slavery and let the Jews go.

World renowned Rabbi Yosef Jacobson teaches an invaluable lesson that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself made a cornerstone of his theology 60 years ago.

That is, an essential element of true freedom. Freedom from slavery. From the shackles of systemic racism. From abuse and unfair treatment. From discrimination.

Is Internal healing.

God commanded the children of Israel about freedom BEFORE he commanded Pharaoh to actually free the Jews because in order for the Jews or anyone to truly be free, they need to understand freedom from psychological slavery.

They needed to have some form of internal reckoning before they could truly appreciate real freedom.

Dr. King knew about this directive:

“As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery.”

Of course, this didn’t stop King from fighting every imaginable unjust system and unfair treatment of Black Americans and others. It’s not either or.

But he knew in that fight that psychological freedom needed to happen alongside the long hard fight against injustice.

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, my hope and prayer is for every person to be able to experience that mental freedom.

And in the meantime, the fight against bigotry, injustice and systemic racism will continue with vigor.

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Jeffrey Kass

A Medium Top Writer on Racism, Diversity, Education, History and Parenting | Speaker | Award-Winning Author | Latest Book: Black Batwoman V. White Jesus | Dad