True Freedom: What Not to Pass Over for Just One Week

How can you find freedom in a goal-oriented, boundary-set way?

Given Miami’s sizable Jewish population, you may have seen local grocery stores featuring Passover products lately, leading in to the holiday next week. Matzah, the most renowned Passover food, is featured in the Exodus story. The Israelites were desperate to leave the Egyptian Pharoah’s slavery so expeditiously that they didn’t even have time for their bread to rise, which resulted in flat, unleavened cracker sheets called matzah. From that time on, Jews were commanded to eat flour products which are unleavened during the week of Passover. That’s right: No bread, pasta, or cinnamon buns. Jewish homes undergo massive, often exhausting spring cleanings to rid their homes of leaven prior to the holiday. And this is supposed to represent freedom? The joke is that it sounds like enslavement of a different kind!

And yet, many Jewish people find there is a freedom in the preparation, and the restriction. This metaphor for life is a featured theme during the holiday of Passover — something we can all learn from.

Freedom does not usually mean free-for-all. In fact, we often benefit from preparing tirelessly toward a set goal, and living under guidelines which are seemingly restrictions. The question for you is: How can you find freedom in a goal-oriented, boundary-set way?

The Four Questions
At the Passover seder, or festive meal, held the 1stand 2ndnights of Passover, four questions are asked about the holiday rituals. Here we have prepared four different questions to hone in on the subject of freedom in your own life. By answering these questions, you can arrive at a better understanding of how you would like to encourage a feeling of freedom for yourself.

  1. When do you feel anxious?
  2. What are you stressed-out about?
  3. How do you feel impeded in your life?
  4. How do you feel you can help yourself feel free?

Say you have several answers to the above four questions. Choose one. Be it your relationship, an upcoming test, lessening an unhealthy habit, or anything else, by focusing on one goal, you will be more effective. Now ask yourself two follow-up questions:

  1. What guideline(s) could help me gain control of my situation?
  2. How can I work with that guideline for one week straight?

This might sound a bit theoretical, so here are a few examples:

  • You want to have more energy, so you go on a one-week nutritional cleanse.
  • You are feeling angry at your spouse/partner or children too often. This week, you focus on one positive aspect about them, and don’t complain about anything you don’t like.
  • You feel your boss doesn’t appreciate you. You suggest a weekly feedback session where you can show off your accomplishments in a professional, diplomatic fashion.
  • You’re wasting too much time on the internet, so you download an app which automatically closes a website after a set time period.

You can do anything for a week. It’s just. one. week. To make it easier and more fun, get friends or family involved, at the very least to cheer you on if not make the change together. After all, the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt was as a group of about 2 million people, and to this day they gather together in families and communities for Passover seders all over the world. In other words, it’s rare that they celebrate their realized goals and Passover-restricted diet alone. There is freedom in boundary-set, growth-oriented ambitions. Don’t pass over the opportunity to have it.

Originally published at on April 13, 2016.