Freedom is the freedom to chose our masters.
Among many other wonderful things, Pesach is a celebration of freedom. A people long enslaved learns to be free, regains faith in its God, and finds its way home through a long, arduous journey.
As Jews in North America today, we enjoy tremendous freedom to practice our religion as we see fit, we are free to express ourselves and our opinions, we are free to chose in virtually every area of our lives.
Passover gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the amazing gift that is freedom, to value and cherish it. But it is also a chance to clear the slate and take stock of all the things we voluntarily enslave ourselves to.
At our first seder table (the traditional meal, meaning “order” in Hebrew), we talked about freedom and what it meant to us. Our guests and us took turns thinking about something we would like to free ourselves from during the coming year. I mentioned my desire to go off an anxiety medication (which I did, gradually and with professional guidance), a friend mentioned her wish to stop “playing it small” at work and to gain confidence, another mentioned his fear of commitment, and so on. It was a liberating experience (pun intended).
We enslave ourselves to our jobs, to toxic relationships, self-defeating attitudes, electronic devices, our social media profiles, bad habits, resentment, disappointment, grief, the list is endless. It is not the job, the relationship, or the life event in itself that is the problem. The problems arise when we let those determine how we feel about ourselves and about life in general, when we lose our balance and let it affect how we treat the ones we love.
So, this coming Pesach, my wish for you is that, in the midst of all the cleaning and cooking and planning, you find a few minutes to take a walk or sit by a window, and think about something you would like to be free of by Pesach next year. May you find strength in HaShem and in the beautiful story told on two very special nights.
If freedom is the freedom to chose our masters, let’s chose them wisely (and maybe let’s just stick to One ;).