We hear it every year. Passover is the time of freedom. Freedom from slavery, oppression, confinement. With a strong arm He brought us out of Egypt . . . Us. We are supposed to experience Passover night as if we ourselves left Egypt.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to Egypt. I’ve never been a slave. And I’ve never truly grasped the meaning of freedom. There is an obvious paradox on Passover, which is that for eight days we have more restrictions then the rest of the year. On the Seder night, we don’t talk about whatever we want. We follow a prescribed text. We don’t eat what we want. In fact, we don’t get to eat for a quite a while, and when we do, it’s parsley with saltwater; horseradish; and some really stale, flat, cardboard-like matzah.

When I hear the word freedom, I imagine a hippie-dippy world of free love and freedom from “The Man.” I imagine doing what I want, when I want. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the freedom that the Torah is describing. So let me ask you this:

When you put a blank piece of paper in front of you, what happens? Do you fill it with beautiful drawings and colorings from the deepest depths of your soul? Or do you look at it and wonder what should go there?

And what happens when you have a piece of paper with print on it—perhaps some junk mail lying around? What happens to me is that I start filling in the letters. I color the O’s and the eights. I draw triangles around groupings of letters. If there’s a picture on it, I may add my own shading, or draw funny teeth coming out of the pretty model’s mouth.

Basically, I doodle.

Total freedom, a blank slate to fill with infinite potential, often leaves me intimidated and lost. But a little structure gives me the freedom to create more.

I am not going to write about how all the limitations of Passover create an atmosphere of freedom that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to access. I believe there is a lot written about that already. But what I do want to explain is that perhaps the meaning of freedom is something that actually needs to be defined. But not by me alone.

I don’t believe freedom is any one thing. I believe freedom means something different to everyone. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what freedom means to me. I find it has meant many things to me at different times of my life.

There were times when freedom meant being free from addiction. There was addiction to smoking. Addiction to TV and other media. Addiction to an escapist mentality.

Other times it has meant being free from low self-esteem. Free from self-obsession and self-pity. Free from wondering what other people were thinking about me. Free from always feeling like I have to say just the right thing or do just the right thing. Freedom from thoughts of myself, so I could think about others.

Right now, for me, freedom is gratitude. Freedom is being able to stop wanting and be content with the moment. Freedom is having my little ones asleep in my arms, and knowing that there is nothing in this world that could make this moment better. Freedom is knowing that my happiness comes from being in deep connection. With myself. With loved ones. With G‑d. Because I don’t need to want that, or seek it somehow. Connection is always there. Always here. Waiting for me to notice and enjoy. Whether in solitude, bad health, lack of sleep, in a messy house or with a screaming toddler.

In any moment I can stop. I can take a breath. I can connect to my soul, and know it is bigger than me. It is holding me in this moment. I can connect to a friend. Thank G‑d, we have these amazing little connectors in our pockets, sending out a signal at our beck and call that vibrates a friend’s pocket, and instantly we are connected. Phones are amazing. I can connect to G‑d. I can reach out and know that there is no place I can go where He cannot follow. I think of a baby in the womb. It can feel scared, alone, in the dark. But it cannot go anywhere outside of its mother’s embrace. I am in my Creator’s womb. And it’s sometimes dark, and solitary, but I can’t leave it.

Stop. Breathe. Connect.

That is my freedom of today.

So I invite you to find your meaning of freedom. And experience it! This Passover is your time to leave your house of slavery, whatever it may be, and feel the gift of liberation.