This coming Monday night we will sit around the table and retell the story of the Jew’s slavery in Egypt. Many commentators have asked why we bring ourselves back to days of servitude when life is so much better for us now. Isn’t it depressing to focus on the negative? They answer that reliving our oppressed history is essential for us to thrive in our current state.
Words facilitate healing
Each person has their own coping methods after a trauma. However, it is clear that putting words to a trauma whether by writing, talking or thinking about it is essential for healing. Imaging research has shown that immediately after a traumatic experience the speech centers of our brains are shut down. As people recover, these areas slowly light up again and when used, facilitate recuperation.
Imagine to grow
At the seder when discussing enslavement and exodus, we are not only healing through speech, but are strengthening ourselves through meaning. When people attribute meaning to an event they achieve post-traumatic growth and emerge mentally stronger. This year, let’s truly imagine ourselves leaving Egypt and use that experience to increase our resilience and mental health.