Freedom of the mind

Once, there was a beggar who would drag himself for apartment building to apartment building, climbing the stairs and knocking on all the doors, for a few pennies. Oh, how he wished there where elevators in those buildings, so life could be a little easier for him. One day, a friend sees him and asks him, “What would you do if you won the million dollar lottery?” To which he answered in the blink of an eye, “I would install elevators in all those buildings so life could be a little easier for me when I go begging.”

You see, this beggar had a poor man’s mentality, so even when he would win the money, and he was a millionaire, he could only think in terms of his begging.

Passover, is described as the season of our freedom. “In every generation and every day a person must see himself liberated from Egypt”. In Hebrew, the word for Egypt can be understood as constraints and limitations. This season, specifically by eating the special hand baked shmurah matza, and drawing lessons from the story of the exodus, we are granted the special opportunity to liberate ourselves from the many internal limitations and constraints imposed by the inner Pharaoh.

Inside each one of us there is a positive G-dly force, and an evil taskmaster, interested in controlling and directing us in self-destructive ways. Many times he succeeds to subdue the good, so it is suppressed and not allowed to flourish and express itself.

Comes the Hagadah-the Passover story, and tells us, there are three most important elements that must be considered in the process of liberation, and they are, Pesach Matza and Marror.

Pesach means, to Passover. To uplift oneself above the circumstances they find themselves in. We don’t always have to confront head on our challenges. Many times lifting ourselves above the situation, helps us see our problems from an overall, all-encompassing perspective.

Matza represent humility, since the matza is flat and not blown up like the ego of bread. As big as a person’s ego may be, in the end it is his own bubble, separate from anyone else. Humility, allows a person to connect to others, and it is only with the help of others a person is able to truly expand and move forward in life.

Marror is the bitter herbs. Recognizing, that difficulties are always part of the mix as an ingredient to grow, and is part of the freedom process. The only way a person can bring the best out of themselves is through hardships and challenges. Difficulties is G-ds way of telling a person, “I put you exactly where you are, because I know it is only through this experience and journey you will reach, a better destination in life.”

Passover, when practiced in the correct manner, by being careful not to come in contact with any leavened food, grants us this power of freedom for the rest of the year. A great mystic, the Arizal teaches, anyone who is careful not to have any leavened products around them for Passover, is guaranteed not to sin inadvertently for the entire coming year.

Best wishes to all for a Happy and Kosher Passover. May we all merit to absorb the tremendous strength granted during this Holiday.