© Rabbi Susan Freeman, 2003


In this guided visualization, slavery is likened to what is unhealed in one’s life, and freedom is likened to healing. What do we mean by “healed” and “unhealed?” In being expansive in our understanding of these words, we may say that being “healed” does not necessarily mean the eradication of illness, grief or difficult circumstances. By drawing on the analogy of slavery to freedom, we broaden our perspective of what “unhealed” and “healed” might mean.

The slavery/freedom analogy may lead to various associations for participants. Perhaps they will associate the “slavery” of being unhealed with feeling heavy, foggy, muddy, stuck, held down, held back, weighed down, unclear, fearful, imprisoned, and so on. Conversely, perhaps they may associate the “freedom” of being healed with feelings of release, wholeness, clarity, peacefulness, confidence, burdens being lifted, and so on.

For instance, those who are suffering from a specific illness may draw on the guided visualization as a means to try to go beyond the daily struggles they experience. What states of being are possible besides those of feeling unendingly “enslaved” by illness?

In essence, slavery is to freedom what unhealed is to healed, with the understanding that healing is a lifelong journey toward wholeness. This guided visualization provides an opportunity for participants to explore the places where they feel enslaved and envision and experience a sense of freedom.

The leader should ask participants to close their eyes and sit with their feet flat on the floor with their hands resting comfortably in their laps. Allow a moment or two of silence and gentle breathing, then begin to read the visualization slowly, with plenty of pauses, allowing participants time to fully immerse themselves in the experience.

haggadah Section: Introduction
Source: National Center for Jewish Healing, Holiday Resource Sampler, Volume 1: Passover