It’s Passover, so that means matzo and constipation. (Possibly too much information, but it’s the truth.) It also means a time to talk about slavery. Passover is the story of the Hebrews’ exodus from Egypt, from slavery to freedom. There’s lots of drama, Moses in the basket sent down the Nile, Pharaoh’s daughter finding and raising him as her own, Moses realizing he was born a slave, the burning bush, the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea—it’s all very exciting. It happened more than 3,500 years ago. The notion of modern-day Americans being enslaved seems unrealistic. But we are. The most common slave master here is the phone. Don’t pretend you aren’t addicted to your phone. We all are. This is a form of bondage in which we trap ourselves. I’m not saying to give up your phone. I certainly wouldn’t, but if I truly want to be free, from social pressures or FOMO (the fear of missing out), I would stop checking my Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/e-mail so much. This is easier said than done.
I’ve talked a lot about this on my WCCO radio show. Experts say you don’t need to wander in a desert for 40 years to break your YouTube addiction. Even just 40 minutes a day of resistance from whatever binds you will help. They promise that resistance eventually feels more like freedom.
And if you are so enlightened that you aren’t a slave to Pinterest, maybe it’s something else. Food or wine. Keeping up with the Joneses. Binge watching. Dieting. Gossip. Whatever your “Egypt” is, consider acknowledging it, because today, we get to choose freedom from whatever enslaves us. (It would be easier if G-d put a plague on social media, but that’s unlikely.)
This week, I wish you freedom from your “Egypt” and a healthy schmear of cream cheese to make the matzo go down easier.