A smoker once told me that quitting was dead easy; he personally had stopped dozens of times.

Well? Can one quit something (successfully) more than once? Can a recovering alcoholic still struggling for sobriety boast of his success in conquering his demons? How would you define a relapsed drug addict who is currently clean, but might fall off the wagon at any time?

A 12-stepper is trained never to believe himself cured, no matter how many years of clean slates he may have accumulated. "I am an addict," he will explain "and tomorrow, just like every living day of the last 23 years, I will wake up and struggle against my desires."

Living, sentient beings must keep their passport handy We read this week of the "Forty-two journeys the Children of Israel traveled going out of Egypt" (Numbers 33:1) Doesn't seem to make sense, does it? The Jews may indeed have made 42 distinct stops in the desert, camped in 42 separate places, but only one of the journeys, the first, would have taken them out of Egypt.

In Jewish philosophy, "Egypt" represents not just a physical land peopled by real-life Jew enslavers, but also symbolizes a concept: the slave mentality. The Hebrew name for Egypt, Mitzrayim, is etymologically related to the word Meitzorim, "boundaries": that psychological construct that traps you in place, unwilling or unable to break free from your mental shackles.

Throughout one's life one is forced to undertake a series of "journeys," traveling out of one's comfort zone to confront new challenges and conquer fresh territories. Only a corpse can be described as having completed its travel. Living, sentient beings must keep their passport handy, ready to be used on the next stage of their journey through life.

The events of one's past are not overweight baggage dragging you down; rather they are the accumulated experiences from which you may draw, helping you maneuver around the new obstacles which present. You may have struggled with an issue in the past and successfully overcame it, left that border crossing behind, as it were. Now there is a new you, undertaking a new journey and those very survival skills which have protected you to date will stand in your stead on your new adventure.

Freedom is waiting for you over the border An addict wakes each morning, resolved to spend the whole day overcoming his temptations. Each day is a new journey where fresh obstacles present to be surmounted. The skills and strengths gained from past battles will benefit you in your present struggle, but each journey is its own distinct struggle, and each new accomplishment helps you escape once again from the servitude of your private Egypt, towards the freedom waiting for you over the border.