Monday, April 2, 2012

Freedom to Choose

Sabrina Burger, long time Parenting Through a Jewish Lens instructor, shares her thoughts as she prepares for Passover.

As I prepare to clean my house for Passover, to get rid of chametz—anything leavened—I am reflecting on the meaning of slavery and freedom. 

I would like to share a brief paragraph from The Survival Kit Family Haggadah that rings true for me:

"When is the best time for someone to learn about freedom? To this question the reply in the Haggdah is "When matza and maror (bitter herbs) are in front of you." Matza symbolizes freedom whereas maror represents the bitterness of slavery. Why do we need to have both on the table to learn about freedom? Life presents us constantly with choices. Being aware of our choices—our capacity to control and direct our thoughts, words, actions and reactions—is a prerequisite to freedom. These choices, some of them "big" but most of them not, are an ever present reality. At all times they are literally in front of us, and on some level each constitutes the choice between slavery and freedom."

What I like about this idea is that freedom is not a one-time final destination. Our freedom to choose can happen every day in even small ways; in the habits we practice and through the attitudes we acquire. As we bring more consciousness into our relationships with our kids, our spouses, and ourselves we have the opportunity for personal growth—the opposite of slavery.

This year make your seders particularly engaging for young children with these helpful hints from our talented Parenting Through a Jewish Lens faculty.

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