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The Escape Hatch

The Escape Hatch

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You're trapped in your marriage. You've said certain things, she's said things, both quite unforgivable, so now you're imprisoned in this cube of tense silence you used to call "home" and the only place to go from here is down. Yes, there is a way out -- just yesterday there was a moment, a fleeting opportunity for reconciliation. But you were too big to squeeze through.

You're trapped in debt. There's the house redo you just had to do, the car you absolutely had to have, the vacation you simply wanted (you deserve something for yourself, too). The bills are closing in, and the only place to go from here is down. Yes, there's a small opening, through which a tiny voice inside you sometimes beckons, "You don't really need this." But you've gotten too big to squeeze through.

You're trapped in your life. Whichever way you turn, you encounter walls -- unshakable habits, antagonistic colleagues, elusive desires. The only direction that seems not to be closed to you is down -- the direction leading deeper into the quagmire.

Sometimes, the weather clears enough for you to see the escape hatch set high up in the wall -- the way out to freedom. But it's so small. Actually, it's not so much that it's small as that you need to make yourself small -- veritably flatten yourself -- to fit through. You need to deflate your selfhood enough to say to yourself: "Wait a minute! I've got the wrong idea of what it's all about! It's not about me, it's about Us. It's not about what I can be and have, but what I can do and accomplish."


We celebrate the festival of Passover by eradicating all chametz (leavened foods) from our home and replacing it with matzah, the unleavened bread. The Chassidic masters explain that in order to re-experience the freedom of the Exodus -- the moment in history that liberated our souls from all and any future forms of slavery -- we must eradicate the chametz from our souls and replace it with matzah.

Chametz -- grain that has fermented and bloated -- represents that swelling of ego that enslaves the soul more than any external prison. The flat, unpretentious matzah represents the humility, self-effacement and commitment that are the ultimate liberators of the human spirit.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that the liberating quality of matzah is also shown in the forms of the Hebrew letters that spell the words "chametz" and "matzah". The spelling of these two words are very similar (just as a piece of bread and a piece of matzah are made of the same basic ingredients) -- chametz is spelled chet, mem, tzadi; matzah is spelled mem, tzadi, hei. So the only difference is the difference between the chet and the hei -- which, as the illustration above shows, is also slight. Both the chet and the hei have the form of a three sided enclosure, open at the bottom; the difference being that the hei has a small "escape hatch" near the top of its left side.

Which is all the difference in the world.

By Yanki Tauber; based on the teachings of the Rebbe.
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Sylvia U.K. November 16, 2015

Letting go of materialism The escape hatch is letting go of materialism, then replacing it with the will of HaShem

Every action towards the will of HaShem changes our lives, maybe not immediately, but given time the positive changes become simply awe inspiring wanting to achieve more for HaShem and less for the self, but not totally neglecting the self. This frees us to think about the needs of others around us, before ourself, thus creating light and harmony. If not immediately reciprocal, eventually with prayer, harmony can be revitalised.
Sometimes radical change is required and ChaBaD has great lessons, life experiences and advice that really does help. Reply

Deb Buffalo Grove, Illinois April 19, 2011

The Escape Hatch This really doesn't make sense to me. I can see how matzah and chametz are similar, but how does cleaning out one's home of chametz get rid of a person's enslavement to one's ego? It seems to me that nothing in this marriage can really change by this action. The only way to really clean the chametz out of one's egoism is to ask G-d to change your vessel of reception to a vessel of bestowal and no physical action can do this only a true inner pray called raising MAN can reach Him. I don't want to continue to exist in the illusion that my physical actions can change anything. We have seen in the history of the Jewish people that nothing has happened. We are now in a worse state than any other time in history! Our egoism is tremendous and that is why marriages and schools and everything in society is failing. We need to leave Egypt permanently, come out of our vessels of reception and learn to bestow for G-d's sake. Reply

Miryam bat Yitzchak - Pan D'ora london April 17, 2011

hey toda raba - thank you for the spark of enlightenment! I love reading and listening to audio here on chabad. wise and wonderful, and complements other teachers and audio I have found.
I l;ove to see that there is more and more wisdom and light coming into the world from many directions, opening up the opportunity for us all to grow and help our soul in its tikkun. And to bring the energy of mashiach into manifestation ... love and light and a wonderful pesach to everyone.
I am actually working in egypt this week, and am using the time there to focus on coming out of slavery and feeling what it was like in those days in these times! The whole energy of leaving the nile valley - where i will be - and going towards the read sea - and the splitting of the sea - and Miryam's song - my names-sake, where my soul comes from!
These are excting times and I wish you all a wonderful seder and may you all journey towards your own personal freedom Reply

Anonymous brooklyn, ny April 17, 2011

The escape hatch Wow! What a beautiful way to look at it, even through the letters of a Holy Language...the "hei" has an escape hatch. Beautifully and Spiritually put!
Happy Passover! Reply

Rinah Shalom Brighton, MI April 12, 2011

This still does not tell me the "how to":

I need to know how to liberate my SOUL from all and any future forms of slavery and eradicate the chametz from my SOUL. Reply

Lyn April 9, 2009

escape hatch What wisdom... I kept a copy for myself and sent a copy to my daughter that is stuggling with her marriage etc. Thankyou Reply

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