Stop. Pause. Don’t go any further. At least don’t move forward in the Torah. It’s time for Pesach! We hit the pause button on normal, everyday life, and we live our lives differently for 8 days. We clean our homes, change over our dishes and kitchens, get rid of all the chametz, burn the chametz and sell it, get together for Seder, change our diets, and instead of reading the next parasha in the Torah (Shemini), we rewind and relive the story of our Exodus. Freedom. For an entire 8 days, and even the time preceding it, we suspend time and live in an alternate reality. Why? Why is it so important that we experience these same practices, traditions, and mitzvot every year? Why is so important that we change the rhythm of our lives for 8 days?
To remember. To experience. To relive our History. To bring us back to the origins of our Peoplehood. To put things into perspective. There are so many different answers to the questions above. But, truly I believe it boils down to this. We learn our life lessons best when we experience them, not when we read it from a History book. And what bigger life lesson to learn, than to cherish the Freedom we have. To continue to fight for it because as we have seen throughout History. Freedom is not always a given, and it could be taken away. So, be in the Pesach Pause. Let yourself transcend your normal life, and for 8 days remember, experience, and look to the future with hope. Maybe this year don’t just go through the motions of the Seder, experience them. We have the power to learn from our past to transform and build our future.
Tonight at your Seder, ask all the questions you want. I don’t have one question for you, but many. Tonight is all about asking questions, learning, and growing. Find yourself, explore your Jewish identity by asking questions. Relive the past. Ask the tough questions. Ask the easy questions. Ask the in between. “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Why is there Passover? Why do we have Seder? What do the symbols on the seder plate mean? Why do we do all of this? Is G-d in the world? How does remembering and re-experiencing our past, change the future?
Chag Sameach! Shabbat Shalom!