Each year at Pesach time, we sit around the table, joyfully retelling the story of the Jewish peoples’ exodus from Egypt. Half mumbling the somewhat difficult Hebrew words, but of course singing the words “dayenu” with all our might, we quickly breeze through the laborious task of reading the Haggadah. However, with our efficient story telling skills and skipping over the boring parts, sometimes it is challenging to discover a link between the ancient exodus and our modern lives today. How can a story of open-miracles and the overwhelming presence of God have any correlation to our post-biblical time, where open-miracles are scarce and the existence of God is questioned?
One of the biggest themes of the Haggadah is the transition from slavery to freedom. Through Moses’ leadership and God’s guidance, the Jewish people became a free nation and made their way out of their place of oppression- Egypt. As free people, this form of slavery is difficult to imagine. Whilst slavery of this kind most definitely still exists in the world today, I would like to offer an alternative perception of slavery, which in our contemporary lives proves to be very relevant.
Slavery of thought is the idea that rigid social norms and influences “whip” us into the perfect “products of our society”. The disallowance for straying outside of what is considered to be normal once again promotes a world of conformity and in so, slavery of mind. But how do we gain freedom from this subconscious enslavement? What sea do we need to cross to abolish this enslavement? What is our metaphorical exodus from our metaphorical Egypt?
In order to abolish this slavery of thought, we must stick true to our values, promote our uniqueness, follow our independent thought and stand tall. Although difficult, we must feel the whips of the social influences, however, not allow them to scar the skin too deep.