We are in the midst of Pesach.
Read my reflective thoughts here which try to get to the deeper lessons and message of this special festival we are currently all enjoying.
(Use my IsraelB Online community to find out what’s happening throughout Israel over Pesach)
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Seder Night & Pesach is a time when-
-We engage with those around us, yet are so painfully aware of those who are no longer here and feel the void.
-We embrace new faces, tunes and recipes, yet nothing compares to what we grew up with.
-We learn about Freedom, yet so many people aren’t living the lives they hoped for and deserve.
-We eat Matzah which represents both freedom and slavery, rich and poor.
-We eat the egg which symbolizes both mourning and happiness, lacking and completeness.
-We recite Hallel, which is both an expression of positivity and optimism, yearning and despair.
-The Matzah must be whole, yet turns into crumbs so easily.
-The Maror which is lettuce, is supposed to be bitter, but is actually quite tasty.
-We drink 4 cups of wine which have to be full, yet are drunk and diminished so quickly.
-The emphasis is on speech and discussion, yet there are times when we must also be silent, like when eating the Matzah.
-The rich and poor eat different types of meals, but the Afikoman dessert is the same modest Matzah for everyone.
-We sit together – hosts and those who need hospitality, those who are independent and those who are dependent, families and those who live alone, even though our lives are so different.
-We listen to the Mah Nishtana around the same table – both parents and the childless, even though our thoughts and worries are so dissimilar.
-We read about blood as representing both life and death. Life in the context of Brit Milah and saving the Jewish Firstborn and death, as blood was the cause of the First Plague and didn’t avoid the death of the Egyptians in the 10th.
-We aren’t sure what we should be focusing on and what takes precedence in Judaism. The ‘Spiritual’ – The Idolatry in the times of Avraham or the ‘Physical’ – Slavery in Egypt?( Rav or Shmuel)
-We sing so much for the rebuilding of the Temple, yet we are to blame for it not being rebuilt.
-We continually refer to 2 different times zones. The past ( Egypt) and future ( Rebuilding Yerushalayim), yet true happiness is only found with those who are able to live in the present. Maybe that’s why at the Seder we are supposed to have a delicious meal too.
-We read Shir Hashirim which is a narrative of searching, insecurity and disappointment, whilst at the same time we focus on the Korban Pesach which was eaten in the comfortable, predictable, intimate context of the family unit.
-We read about the roasting of the Korban Pesach as an act of rejection of Egyptian idolatry and culture, yet the Torah sees the Korban Pesach as a reminder of how Hashem saved us from the plague of the Firstborn.
-We are supposed to celebrate Hashem saving us, yet at other times in Jewish History Hashem remained hidden.
-We read about the 4 sons and contrast them all and then realize they are all one and the same person.
-We train children to ask questions, yet need to make them realize sometimes you need to learn to live with the insecurity of the questions and doubt.
So what’s the message of the Seder Night and Pesach we can take with us?
Maybe that we need to acknowledge and internalize that life isn’t black and white . There are ups and downs, times of companionship and joy, being alone and searching. Times of silence and times of noise. Things aren’t as simple and predictable as they once seemed, but that doesn’t mean that we can give up and stop praying, hoping and trying to improve ourselves and the lives of those around us too.