As Passover commences, one may wonder what can be gleaned from this holiday. Here is some food for thought. On Passover we celebrate the redemption from Egypt. What does that mean for us today in 2019? We aren’t slaves. Knowing the Torah is timeless requires us to take a deeper look into how being free applies to our lives.
Freedom is commonly understood as doing whatever, whenever. This idea is flawed. It is not hard to find someone who has the ability to satisfy his every desire but isn’t happy. That’s because such a person does not understand the true meaning of freedom. For one to be happy, he must exercise self control. When an individual succumbs to his desires, he shows that he is a slave to his temptations. When a person controls his initial urge for a better long-term goal, then he has tasted true freedom.
Take a person on a diet. When is he more free? When he eats as he pleases or when he resists the urge for a piece of cake for a larger goal? Of course, if he controls himself, he is freer than one who gives in!
In conclusion, the message Passover conveys is to check inside ourselves to see who we serve. Either we serve God, or we serve our temptations. We all chase happiness and freedom, but who among us can say they have attained it? There is no greater feeling than exercising self control to do what is right.
Yehuda Levenson is a rabbi of The Kollel Ner Hamizrach Atlanta.