Over the past few weeks we have seen our special community band together and support one another during these challenging times. These are certainly unprecedented times and the upcoming joyous festival of Pesach feels very different to other years.
The Exodus from Egypt, which is central to the festival of Pesach, is the pinnacle of the Jewish experience of becoming a nation. In our Jewish literature we refer to this collective experience as ‘In the days of the Exodus’. Why do we refer to it in plural form, days, if we are told the Exodus took place in just one day?
One of the explanations is that on the day the Jewish people came out of Egypt, they were taken out of slavery and became a free people and a cohesive nation. The transition from slavery to freedom is not a onetime happening, but a continuous process. It demands frequent and constant reflection so as to experience the coming out from slavery into freedom in a personal way.
The mindset of slavery can be hard to shake. It can feel like hanging out and spending time with people who do not build you. It can mean feeling beholden to bad habits that can feel impossible to shake.
However, we just have to look at the kindness in our community during this difficult time to know we are entering this period leading up to Pesach with the right mindset. A mindset that allows us to take an active interest in the welfare of our family, friends and community and work together to help others. Matzah is referred to as ‘Bread of Faith and Bread of Healing’ – two things we all need an extra dose of this year.
This year’s Pesach Seder will be very much like the original Seder observed by our ancestors on the eve of their Exodus; a family only event. Perhaps one of the lessons we can learn is to take a moment’s pause from our fast-paced lives and all the stressors; to make time to nurture the mind and the soul; to realign our priorities to things that really matter.
May this year’s Pesach – our ‘holiday of freedom’ – empower us with much needed health, calm, strength and inner freedom.
!חג כשר ושמח
With blessings for a meaningful and happy Pesach,