As PM Netanyahu begins the process of forming his fifth governing coalition, the Israeli government and most of the country shuts down for the Passover holiday, so we’ll be doing the same. We’ll see you back after the holiday. Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful Passover!
The Torah commands us to destroy our chametz – leavened products — before the onset of Passover. Jewish law dictates that we conduct a search for any chametz in our homes, to make sure that none remains in our possession during Passover. In a spiritual sense, chametz represents haughtiness and misplaced pride and self importance. In preparation of our redemption (on Passover) we are meant to destroy the chametz within us. It is then that true redemption, both personal and national, can be achieved.
Getting rid of physical chametz is not too difficult. But vanquishing our spiritual chametz is a challenge of epic proportions. For it is that chametz that gives us the permission to belittle, mistreat, mock or simply ignore those whom we deem to be not quite good enough for us. It’s what often makes us feel good about ourselves when we do things that we shouldn’t and directs us to put our own interests before those of others, even if those interests are ethically or morally corrupt — or simply not very nice.
So here’s a challenge: in addition to getting rid of our physical chametz, let’s put at least as much attention into getting rid of our spiritual chametz. Doing so will allow us to experience redemption in its truest sense.
Is it Enough?
One of the most famous and beloved songs we sing at the Passover Seder is Dayenu, which means “it would be enough for us”. The song enumerates the great miracles performed for the Jewish people from the Exodus until their entrance into the Land of Israel and after each one proclaims “Dayenu”. For example, “If God had just taken us out of Egypt but not split the sea, that would have been enough for us”. But would it really have been enough if God had taken us out of Egypt but not split the sea? The same question can be asked about nearly every even mentioned in the song. Would it really have been enough?
In order to answer this question, we need to understand that Dayenu is really a love song. When someone is truly in love, every moment and memory with their beloved is precious. Of course we’d love to have it all – – the best house, car, job, vacations, clothing, jewelry etc. But if we truly love our spouse, family or friends, then we can still be happily fulfilled with less. When you have love, then the other stuff isn’t that important.
Let’s use this Passover holiday as an opportunity to appreciate the love in our lives. If we do, we’ll find that the other things are not so important after all. And we’ll also gain a greater appreciation for the things we have been blessed with.