How to personalize Passover

Passover is a holiday of many meanings and layers. In fact, it even has several names:

Chag Ha-Pesach, the festival of the paschal sacrifice. Chag Ha-Matzot, the festival of unleavened bread. Chag Ha-Aviv, the holiday of spring. And Zeman Heiruteinu, the season of our liberation or freedom.

Each year, it's worth our time to focus on a different aspect of the holiday and to dive deeper into its meaning.

Liberation, for example, is a concept that is difficult for many of us to grasp today. We live in America, the land of freedom.

Still, we are commanded each year to relive the exodus from Egypt. So how do we do it? How do we recognize our enslavement? How do we relate to an absence of freedom?

We may now be at a point in history with the greatest freedom for Jews since the time of the First and Second Temples.

For centuries, we focused on the pain and traumas we suffered in the diaspora. Now we have Israel.

For several decades this century, we focused on the plight of the Soviet Jews. They are now free, with hundreds of thousands living in Israel and among us.

Finally, and fortunately, we have the chance to focus on more personal forms of liberation. We are blessed with this opportunity to contemplate our navels, so to speak.

So during this year's seders, take time to ask yourself and your fellow seder-goers to focus on personal enslavement, personal pharoahs, personal burdens.

What do you need to be liberated from? Is it fear, materialism, prejudice, self-hatred, addictions, expectations or loneliness?

What do you want to move toward? How about a renewal of a relationship, a child's awe of the world, an ability to relax, a liberating form of self-control, a path toward spiritual practice, or a space for God in your life?

May this Pesach be a time to start a journey to your land of milk and honey. Happy Passover.