Today my substance of choice is food, I am a compulsive overeater, an addict. I have had many addictions, swapping one out for another but my primordial addiction is food, I am also many things I’m a Mother, sister, friend, wife and a Jew. I wear many hats all of which, as an addict, I have to wear perfectly. This time of the year is especially meaningful to me. One of the things that I love about my religion are the imbued layers of meaning, traditions and preparation.
Passover cleaning goes beyond the physical and extends into the soul (Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky). In preparation for Passover, as a traditional Jew I spring clean our home, my car and my office for all the remnants of chometz/ hametz, and replace our everyday crockery, silverware, pots, pans etc. with our Kosher for Passover ones. I buy only kosher for Passover meats, fish, products and lots of fresh produce as I’m a cook and hostess. Getting through and feeding a family over 8 days takes planning, preparation and stamina.
To me Passover is significant historically, metaphorically but also from a communal cultural perspective:
- Historically we should never forget our past – Passover reminds us of the times when we as Jews were slaves in Egypt.
- To commemorate this event Jewish people participate in and at a Seder where they recount the journey. This is a communal event that includes young and old and much preparation.
- Seder also means order, it also ensures continuity over time. Doing things the same way at the same time. No matter if you are a Jew in the USA, UK, South Africa or Australia we have a seder in the same way.
- Chometz/Hametz is the leavening that makes dough rise, we don’t eat it.
- For some religious Jews they only eat things that can be peeled and don’t use any spices other than salt, lemon, garlic, peppers. Going back to basics and alleviating all additives, preservatives and artificial elements
As an addict Passover has some other significant spiritual meanings to me:
- When Moses told the Israelites to flee many were terrified. Terrified of change and the unknown, some questioned if remaining as slaves wasn’t better? They rationalized a terrible situation to make it a better option. This is like me when I’m using, or getting the urges to use/ dealing with my cravings and or fighting going into or being in recovery. Admitting that I have a problem and my life is unmanageable
- When the Jews arrived at the banks of the Red Sea with the Egyptian army in hot pursuit, it took an unknown man, not Moses to be the first person to step into the raging waters, which then as his foot touched them the waters parted and there was a clear path on land. This action took courage and kept everyone moving forward. Starting my journey in recovery takes courage and I have to keep moving forward, step by step a slow process to the other side.
- Seder the order, reminds me not only as a Jew but also as an addict how there is a continuation, an ebb and flow when there there is order and structure, there is no confusion. Like in nature the day starts at dawn at sunrise and end in the evening at sunset, the seasons come and go. I like order and I operate better within a structured environment, knowing what my triggers are and abstaining from them them, weighing and measuring my food, being accountable helps me in my recovery.
- Chometz/ Hametz symbolizes my ego. The leavening the puffing up of me. My need to control everything and everyone in my world sends me into relapse. When my world becomes all about me and I lose sight of the my spiritual connection, when I isolate and get into my head everything becomes about me. When my ego and my will take over my Chometz/ Hametz my world spirals out of control and my twisted mind takes over and disaster ensues.
- Cleaning up and clearing out. Abstaining from elements that have become staples – bread, pepper, ketchup, corn syrup, corn, legumes etc. Makes me appreciate them when I can eat them after 8 days. The spiritual lessons that I get from this as an addict is:
- To have a Kosher Passover abstinence is key
- To go without certain things that I tell myself that I need won’t kill me, in fact I feel so much better without them.
- Being a slave to my needs makes me enjoy my freedom even more.
- Returning to basics – my house, my car and my body are clean. By practicing meditation and journaling my mind starts getting clean.
Going through these 8 days of thinking about slavery, being enslaved and living in my desert when I’m in addictive addiction. Today I’m extremely grateful for how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to share this time with my family as a clean person, to have a roof over my head, to have healthy clean food in our refrigerator, jobs to pay for it and my health. I was granted another day to do the next right thing and it feels awesome.
I am truly blessed that I was given freedom from slavery had the courage to venture into the unknown, through a sea of turmoil. Work my way through the desert and arrive at the promised land ~ living a healthy and happy life ~HeidE
I was inspired by an article I read, read it here or below