Passover Reminds Us to Appreciate Our Freedom Year-Round
“In each generation, every person is obligated to see one’s self as if he/she fled Egypt.”
This quote comes from the Jewish text known as the Haggadah, the guidebook used in celebration of the upcoming holiday of Passover (when the Jewish community celebrates our freedom from slavery thousands of years ago). The rabbis instruct us to personally relive the experience, so that when we retell the story, we appreciate our freedom and not take it for granted. We must imagine ourselves as if we were in our ancestor’s shoes to really understand and appreciate the freedom we have until this day.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a famous rabbi from the late 18th/early 19th century and founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement, has a similar quote. He said, “The Exodus from Egypt occurs in every person, in every era, in every year, and in every day.” Rabbi Nachman takes it one step further than the rabbis of the Haggadah. It’s not merely reliving the experience in every generation or just during Passover, but now the exodus is something that we relive every day. It is a part of our identity and who we are as Jews. If we wait between generations or only during Passover, the story might get lost or changed. We need to make our freedom happen now and appreciate our freedom every day. There is a sense of urgency and immediacy.
When I think about this, I realize how much it rings true. I often take my freedom for granted. Yes, I think about it during Passover and maybe even during Thanksgiving or other times of the year, but not on a daily basis. We all know that many, many people all over the world do not enjoy the freedoms we have, be it in the realm of religion, politics, economics, press and others. Passover reminds us of how fortunate we are to enjoy the freedoms we possess.
Let us set an intention to do this on a more regular basis, so that we can advocate and fight for those who still are enslaved around the world. Best wishes for a happy season of renewal and freedom!