This is the last regular Torah reading before Passover – a holiday not called Passover, but instead The festival of unleavened bread. That tells you the significance of matzah. Passover is a name we gave it later.
We initiate the festival by searching and removing from our homes “chametz” – the food we are not supposed to eat, the foot made with leavening agents. That is why bread is not allowed. Yeast is a leavening agent. A quick look in any grocery store with a Jewish section will show you how many products are remade specifically for Passover. Everything from coke to potato chips to everything in between.
As one of my favorite teachers reminded me – the root word from which chametz comes also means “miss”. So during the week we are to miss the leavening agents from our food and the fact we miss tells us we have given something up – think lent – but it is more than that. In our connection to G0d we strive to be connected and so when we “missed” we offered a sacrifice – we give of ourselves.
During these days of the modern plagues we are also reminded that the people never moved on from where they were, either as a nation or until the sick and infirm were brought back to the community and reintegrated. We are in the process of reintegration now and as the festival of unleavened bread is upon us it is our chance to re-create the events and overcome our fears now.
I will be posting a primer on how to host a personal Passover Seder in a simplified but meaningful way in the next few days as many of you may be hosting your first, but not your last Seder as you see how simple and meaningful it can be.
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