Yup. Another holiday. Yes, I know it’s tax season. It’s why I’ve been pushing my clients to get me their stuff early. Because tonight begins the 7th day of Pesach. (You do recall that we Jews start our days in the evening. Because Hashem stated it was evening, it was morning- one day. It’s why Christians follow the evening concept for the birth of Jesus- because he was Jewish and that’s how it worked for him.)
I’ve written much about the holiday and freedom. This time, I’ll discuss two items that came up for discussion during our Seder. (The ritual meal, with study of how and why the Jewish people were freed from Egypt and Paroh. )
Many of you know that the youngest child recites what are called the four questions. And, one of those questions discusses the fact that we dip twice on this holiday. Something that is not normally done.
One of those series of “dips” involves putting our finger in the glass of wine and letting one drop of wine fall on our plates as we recall each of the 10 plagues. Why do we do this?
Because while we are thrilled that we were freed from the yoke of slavery and oppression in Egypt, we also recall that many Egyptians died as a result of each of the plagues. And, many of those folks were not directly responsible for our oppression. But, they – as a result of not standing up to the practice- got swallowed up in the series of harsh punishments. Yet, we still recognize that our glass can’t be full- those lost lives diminish our overall joy.
The other interesting item is the practice of breaking the middle piece of matza on the plate into two unequal parts. The larger one, called the Afikomen, is hidden during the evening. And, the younger children then search for it. And, hold it hostage (to get a prize for finding it). Which the parents and other adults want – because we must all eat a piece of the afikomen (as desert! of all things) to proceed with the Seder.
Besides finding something that will keep the kids involved in the Seder, the afikomen represents the knowledge that our situation is incomplete. There are many imperfect things in this world- and we need to connect the pieces together to make the world better. To effect Tikun Olam– the repair of the world.
May you all find release from your narrow places (Mitzrayim, the name for Egypt in Hebrew, means narrow places), to the expanse of freedom and the responsibilities that freedom entails.
(This is the last day of Pesach [some consider the last two days] is one of those where work is not permitted. I will be in my synagogue or spending time with friends, celebrating the end of the holiday. My regular posts will resume as soon as Passover is over.
Enjoy the holiday. For many of you, today is also Easter. May your Easter be grand.)
Oh. I will be working Tuesday night from 30 minutes after nightfall until 3 AM (that’s 12 AM in California), dealing with all the stragglers who waited until the last minute to deal with their taxes.