This is the time of year that we are searching for chometz . Chometz represents slavery, not just physical, but spiritual – the inability to make the decisions that we want to make because we are held back by what we feel like doing. A smoker is not free. A drug addict is not free. A compulsive eater is not free. Now freedom doesn’t necessarily mean never again eating chocolate cake. It means being able not to do so when you are on a diet.
My first meaningful Jewish experience at seventeen was a Passover Seder. At the time, I was living with an addict. He would freebase heroin, ‘chasing the dragon’, as it was known, pretty much every day, and I regularly would come home from High School and find him sitting on our couch with eyes wide open, only the whites visible. Sadly, though almost inevitably, he eventually died of an overdose.