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In the Pesach (Passover) story, Moses repeatedly went to Pharaoh, imploring him to "Let my people go!" But Pharaoh refused… that is, until his son became the victim of his own evil decree against the Israelites. Only then, in that state of great distress, did Pharaoh set down his ego and agree to grant freedom to those who'd been enslaved for generations.
When the story is shared at seders around the world, it is always told in the second person. The exodus from Egypt didn't happen to "them'; rather, it happened to YOU. It happened to me. Those shackles, mud pits, and heavy stones were burdens we all shared... and, from a Kabbalistic perspective, they can still weigh us down, even today.
Yet the shackles we wear now aren't likely made of metal and chains. They're the unseen kind that we’ve put upon ourselves–and often in the name of “Ego.”
Ego is stealth. It is an excellent shape-shifter, too. Sometimes it emerges as jealousy, gossip, animosity, or judgment. At other times, it may show up as defensiveness, selfishness, or pride. But it doesn’t have to bind us forever. As my husband Michael Berg says of the power of Pesach, “We can and are meant to leave this day a completely different person.” We have the power to change ourselves, and it all begins with a clear understanding of what has kept us bound for so long.