By M. Alexander
Passover was never a holiday that I looked forward to celebrating. Old people reading out of a book? I might as well watch CSPAN. Magical disappearance of a glass of wine? Give me a box of Franzia and I’ll make it disappear even faster, then reappear, then disappear.
Why is this night different from all other nights? On all other nights, I eat leavened bread on the table—on this night I must be inconspicuous, stashing my meatball sub incognito.
I ask questions, many questions. Why do I have to be here? How much money will I get if I find the Afikoman? Will my family trip if I drink another glass of wine? How much longer before I get to eat?
Over the past nine months, I have heard many people at Beit T’Shuvah talk about Passover as the holiest day for a Jewish addict. Our dependence on drugs is slavery—Pharaoh disguises himself, wearing the cloak of Heroin, Cocaine, Alcohol, Gambling, Money, Power, or Food.
I now know that I am personally making the exodus out of slavery; this is of the utmost importance to my continued recovery. But I can’t be completely self-absorbed. Passover is also about helping my people make the same exodus. It is a holiday that stresses the importance of community, a celebration that marks strength, a Seder of remembrance, and it is a festival of hope.
We need our community to aid us in our journey to freedom, we need strength to continue trudging, we must remember the cost of freedom, and we must commemorate those who did not make it.
And above all, we must hope for all who are still enslaved—in Congo, in Sudan, in poor inner-cities, in wealthy suburbs, in our own minds—let us pray: next year in Jerusalem!