Passover Reflections – 2024

Passover Reflections - 2024

Pesach (Passover) is my favourite holiday. It’s not because of the delicious food options or the endless cleaning, but rather in addition to being able to spend time with my family, I draw parallels with my recovery journey and the Pesach story. 

The Pesach story, which we read together in the Haggadah, details the journey of the Jewish people from being slaves in Egypt to their exodus and redemption. For me and many others who are struggling or have struggled with addiction, there are parallels in this story.  The feeling of being enslaved to your addiction is real, and the idea that one CAN break free might not always seem probable. It wasn’t an easy journey for the Jewish People in Egypt, and the same can be said about those struggling with addiction.

There are two short excerpts from the Haggadah that I would like to share with you to give you an opportunity to see life as I see it, both as an individual in recovery and as President & CEO at JACS Toronto.

In the Haggadah, we recite a paragraph beginning with the words Bechol Dor Va Dor, which expresses that each generation is obligated to see themselves as if they personally left Egypt. On a personal level, I get the opportunity every day to experience my own salvation, my personal redemption from MY Egypt, from being in the grips of addiction. On Pesach, I share in my gratitude, surrounded by family who have always been there for me even when I was not able to be there for myself.

We also sing Halachma Anya and celebrate the theme of sharing. Whether it is sharing our food with those who are hungry, or opening our homes to those needing a place to celebrate, this paragraph concludes by stating we are now slaves, and next year may we be free.

The staff at JACS Toronto work tirelessly to support those in our community struggling with addiction and related mental health concerns. We run 26 weekly support groups free of charge and provide individual counselling on a sliding scale basis to those in need – all without a waitlist. Please consider supporting JACS TODAY as a way of “sharing your food or opening your home” to those in need.  By partnering with JACS, you provide our clients who are enslaved to their addiction the opportunity to be free. Without the services provided by JACS, they may not have the opportunity to do so.

People often ask – can you drink four cups of grape juice instead of wine, and still fulfill your obligation of drinking the four cups? The answer is Yes!

I hope that my personal journey from being a slave to my addiction to freedom from active addiction can help show others that this freedom is possible, so don’t give up before the miracle happens. 

If you find yourself struggling this Pesach – or any time – know that our team at JACS is here to support you. All calls are confidential, and we have no wait list for care. If you are unsure, or need a hand, call us at 416-638-0350, or email us at info@jacstoronto.org.

Wishing you a Chag Kasher V’Sameyach!