Passover Behind Bars
Rabbi Arye Levene Z”TL, the famous Jerusalem rabbi known as the “Tzaddick in our Time” for his unparalleled kindness, used to frequently visit Jewish inmates in prisons in Jerusalem (Grandfather of the great R’ Abraham Levene Shlita of Lower Merion, PA) After Pesach he asked the prisoners if they were able to have a real Passover Seder in their incarcerated state. They responded “Yes, everything was exactly the same, except when it came time for the cup of Elijah; they didn’t let us open the front doors!!!!!”
"And what about freedom, did you feel like free men?” asked Rabbi Levene. The inmates, locked behind bars, were a bit confused.
Rabbi Levene explained that a true free man isn’t necessary a physical thing, but rather a mental state. Someone who is free is someone who has full control over his own thoughts and ultimately his actions.
No urge, passion or external influence has any power over a free man’s man. Freedom, Chairus, doesn’t mean life of Hefkerut (lawlessness), it is means a life of true control over one’s thoughts, desires, and actions. No matter where one is, being free is all a state of mind. (from Rabbi Pesach Krohn)