The theme of Pesach is freedom from slavery. We’re aware that slavery exists, but it can seem hard for us to visualize ourselves as free people in the modern US.
But are we so free?
If we honestly reflect, we’d likely recognize that there are areas of our lives in which we are enslaved. It might be our job, our car, our cell phone, or our habits. We might be enslaved by fears, anxieties, or blockages. We might even be enslaved in unhealthy relationship patterns.
Here are some examples:
Fear of relationships, doubts of not being good enough in marriage, unease about having children, anxiety about what others will say if i marry a guy / girl like “that”, concerns about judgements/possible criticisms that may come from a date or spouse. Those who have experienced relationship pain will often build mental blockages to protect themselves from the deep heartbreak of a serious relationship that didn’t or won’t potentialize.
Experience shows us that we can easily, even imperceptibly, become enslaved by harmful thoughts or feelings. They have a hold on you and keep you in bondage, not allowing you to move forward to the full life you are capable of living.
So how do we free ourselves from the shackles that enslave us and don’t allow us to move ahead in the way we so badly want and need?
First, it is important to accept the reality of that fear, anxiety, blockage and/or pain. Awareness is always the first step to healing and rebuilding.
Second, we must mourn what was lost, what we want but can not have. Through this we will be able to move beyond the thoughts and fears that plague us.
Third, we must clean those negative and unproductive thoughts, memories, and experiences out. They create burdensome baggage that wears us down as we carry it through our lives.
Experience shows us that we can easily, even imperceptibly, become enslaved by harmful thoughts or feelings.
Yes, it is easier said than done. Yet, if there’s any time to do it, the time is now. This is when we rid ourselves of the dirt, the chometz, the unwanted parts of ourselves that don’t allow us to self actualize.
Once we are cleansed, we’re in a position to rebuild. A fresh slate, a positive attitude, a feeling that blessing and good can happen and it can happen to me! We can rid ourselves of the negativity that entangles and enslaves us all year, that holds us back from the relationships we want with ourselves, with Hashem, and with others. True inner freedom is possible at last!
This is a vital lesson of Pesach. The Jewish people had many traumatic years of slavery in Egypt, yet they chose to leave all those terrible memories behind and not let it define their future. They left, they detached, they cleaned out the old. Only then were they ready to rebuild. And rebuild they did! They received the Torah, moved into Israel, and continue till today to change all of human history!
Although Yom Tov is never easy on singles, this year let us try to accept, mourn, clean, and rebuild. Rebuild ourselves from the inside out. Rebuild ourselves because it’s the time for fresh beginnings. Rebuild because we want a newer, cleaner version of ourselves. Rebuild because our future depends on it.
May the cleansing of self and release from personal bondage leave you only a very short distance to your longest relationship.