This same process can help us understand what Passover is all about and the true essence of freedom. There is an extreme similarity that exists between freedom and slavery. This is apparent with the central symbol of Passover; the matzoh. Isn't it incredibly ironic that the way we celebrate freedom is by eating the bread of slavery and affliction? Granted we would want to acknowledge the experience of slavery during our celebration to ensure we maintain the proper appreciation. Nonetheless, shouldn't the eating of the bitter herbs on the seder night alone suffice? Why not simply eat the matzoh on that first night with the marror and the remainder of the holiday indulge in the rich fluffy leavened challahs? However, the truth is that the matzoh is the very symbol of freedom. This can clearly be seen by the fact that we are required to lean when we eat the matzoh in contrast to the eating of the bitter herbs. How can matzoh be both the reminder of slavery as well as an expression of freedom?
The movie Shawshank Redemption shows us just how slavery and freedom appear almost identical. The character Andy Dufrane is wrongly imprisoned for the murder of his wife yet remains quite free from the confines of prison. Morgan Freeman's Red on the other hand is truly enslaved by the institutionalized existence even though he has established an ability to bypass the rules and regulations. In one very poignant scene Andy is placed in isolation and explains that it was the easiest time yet because he had his "music" with him. His music was his connection to his identity and awareness that he defines who he is and no external limitations can take that away. That is real freedom; the ability to not allow external forces nor our egos to dictate who we are.
In Chapters of the Fathers it states that there is no free person other than one that is involved in the Torah. On the surface this seems quite strange since the Torah mandates every aspect of our lives. If Freedom is the ability to live without mandates then the Torah is the furthest thing from freedom. However in order to be free we must know what it is we want to do with our freedom. That is because freedom is the ability to choose, not the escape from choice. Freedom is having the clarity to know what it is that we want to accomplish and having the ability to do so. Freedom is being aware of our potential and living up to that responsibility. Freedom is being driven to achieve. Freedom is actually choosing what we wish to be a slave to.
It is for this reason that matzoh is the same bread for both slavery and freedom. Matzoh is the bread of slavery when we are subjected to the mandates of Egypt and Pharaoh. That same bread becomes the symbol of freedom when we choose to live by the moral standards of the Torah. Both are a result of a lack of time. One is a lack of time stolen from us against our will, the other is a lack of time to waste being idle. Both the slave and the free person are therefore driven. The difference between freedom and slavery is that even though they are both very driven; one is driven and forced by the whims of something holding us back. We could just as easily be a slave to our laziness and desires as we are to the dictatorship standards of society. On the other hand a free person is driven for greatness. One who is free has no time to waste. The choice to be free is the choice Andy Dufrane so aptly stated; "get busy living or get busy dying".