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Tag Archives: Passover

Passover celebrates the Jewish people’s journey from slavery to freedom. You can read about it in the book of Shmot/Exodus in the Bible. Each year those of us who observe this holiday, prepare by getting rid of all the chometz/leavening in our possession. We do this to remember the swiftness with which the Jewish people picked up and left Egypt; the bread that was baked for the trip did not even have time to rise, so we carried the flat matza with us to eat on our journey. We are told to tell the story of this journey to our children and their children for all generations. To help us do this we have a seder, or a meal, with a particular order so that we are continually and consistently conveying the story of our existence and connection with God.

We were privileged this year to attend a seder where the youngest child, a 5-year-old girl, was in attendance. The leader of this seder stopped frequently to ask Leah questions about the Exodus story and the meaning of the meal we were preparing to eat. Amazingly, already by the age of 5, Leah knew the Passover story. Seders usually end in the wee hours of the morning, but we don’t complain because this is the story of how we became a people.

As my husband and I prepared for Passover this year, we talked about cleaning the chometz from our home, our car, our storage unit, his office space~any area where we might have chometz in our possession. But the meaning of this exercise goes deeper than cleaning out the crumbs and crackers and bits of leaven that gather in ignored corners and crevices throughout the year. Passover is also an opportunity to take an inner inventory of one’s thoughts and actions throughout the year. We spent time discussing the spiritual chometz in our lives that we wished to clean out, to discard from our lives~greed, envy, whining and complaining, etc. We took a hard look at ourselves and considered how we treat each other, how we treat our family and neighbors, what good is there that needs to be cultivated and what spiritual, emotional and psychological leaven needs to be eliminated.

This is a special time of year when we celebrate our journey out of slavery and into freedom. I am grateful for Passover.

The festival of Shavuot begins this evening at sundown.  For those of us in the diaspora, the celebration lasts for two days (one day for Israeli citizens…long story for another post.)  The festival falls 50 days after Passover in celebration of the new grains of the summer wheat harvest in Israel.  Shavuot is also when we celebrate Matan Torah, the giving of the Torah, because it was at this time of year when Moses received the Torah on Mount Sinai.  Some of our present day customs include decorating our homes with bouquets of flowers and eating sumptuous dishes made with cheeses and other dairy and grain products.  Many people will stay up throughout the night to learn from our holy writings and greet the dawn with words of Torah on their minds and in their hearts.  For a little more detail about this wonderful festival, see here.

I will be off-line for a few days as I celebrate this wonderful festival!  I am truly grateful for Matan Torah and the festival of Shavuot!  Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday!)

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