Chag Sameach for this beautiful season of Freedom! Shalom all!
We are again looking forward to celebrating our beautiful home Seder, with our two grand daughters and children! Will Elijah be at the door this year? His cup and place will be waiting! So much is happening in the world and in Israel, that it is a reminder of how special our freedom is these days. May Ha Shem watch over Israel during these troublesome times.
We pray that your families are well and that this season will uplift each of you.
Here I am in our little porch...on a lovely CA day, holding my "feather" that will be used with a wood spoon, to make sure we clean out all the leaven before Passover for our home Seder. Below is a short piece to give some explanation of what happens in our Jewish homes, in preparation for this great celebration! We give thanks to the Conservative branch for sharing these insightful words...
"In anticipation of Pesach, it is traditional to engage in a thorough spring cleaning. During the holiday, Jews' food reflects the major theme of Passover, reliving God's great redemptive act, albeit in a vicarious manner. Because the Israelites had no time to let their bread rise, Jewish law forbids eating (or even possessing) any food that can contain leaven.Therefore, a major part of the preparations for Pesach consists of removing all traces of leavened foods from the home and replacing them with unleavened foods (though many Jews prefer to "sell" their unused leaven products to a non-Jew for the duration of the holiday). This necessitates both a massive cleanup and the replacement of one's ordinary dishes with special Pesach ones. It also requires a shopping expedition to stock the kitchen with special Passover-kosher foods."
And this day shall become a memorial for you, and you shall observe it as a festival for the L-RD, for your generations, as an eternal decree shall you observe it. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove the leaven from your homes ... you shall guard the unleavened bread, because on this very day I will take you out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this day for your generations as an eternal decree. - Exodus 12:14-17
Reflections on Pesach
Passover, or Pesach, begins on the 15th day of the month of Nissan (E'rev Pesach begins April 18 this year, lasting for 8 days). Passover is the first of the Spring Feasts, followed by Shavu'ot, fifty days later. Pesach also represents the firstfruits, or beginning of the barley harvest in Israel.
Passover recounts the Hebrew people's deliverance from slavery in Egypt after 400 years. When a new Pharaoh arose "that did not know Joseph", the Hebrew people went into slavery. G-d raised Moshe as a deliverer, along with his brother Aaron to help in this mighty exodus from Eygpt. This brought not only plagues to the Egyptians, but a mighty parting of the Red Sea! Miracles!
Probably the most significant observance related to Pesach involves the removal of chametz (leaven) from our homes before the Feast begins. It is said that this commemorates that when the Jews left Egypt in a hurry, they did not have time to let their bread rise, hence the use of matzoh for Pesach! Lots of Matzoh for 8 days! And of course there is "matzoh ball soup" that is delicious! Matzoh pizza, matzoh everything!
However, this is also a symbolic example, of removing the "leaven of the heart" (arrogance, pride) from our own soul realm.
May Ha Shem encourage us to also check to see where we might need to "remove some chametz" from our souls to become better examples of his Torah. There is always room for improvement, as we continue to do "Tikum Olam"...repairing the world around us. May this time encourage us to reflect on his Torah.