- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On March 26, 2021
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we make our way toward Shabbat and this week, Pesach. You can listen to it as a podcast HERE.
Passover starts the cycle of the Jewish holidays. The Torah refers to it as the first month. Rosh Hashanah falls in the seventh month but it is also the beginning moment for the counting of the years. Six months from now 5781 will turn to 5782. Both Passover and Rosh Hashanah have a theme of renewal, rebirth, and refresh. During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur ten days later, we release ourselves of the burden of guilt and wrongdoing through t’shuvah, correcting our mistakes and coming back to our best selves, fresh and pure to enter the new year.
Passover also allows us to be renewed as if reborn to our purer selves through the rebirth of spring and the retelling of the story of deliverance with matzah as the main ingredient. How is this possible? The 19th century Hasidic master S’fat Emet, explained the transformation:
On every Pesach a Jew becomes like a new person, like the newborn child each of us was when we came forth from Egypt. The point planted by God within our hearts is renewed. That point is called lehem oni because it is totally without expansion. (Sfat Emet, pg.390)
Matzah, called lehem oni, has no leavening (hamatz) and therefore no fermentation. We actively remove hamatz from our physical residences but also from within ourselves. With the image of hamatz, there is haughtiness and self-righteous pride. We puff ourselves up. We collect it over the year, often so subtly that we don’t realize how much we possess until we have the chance to rid ourselves of its hold on us. Passover releases us from unnecessary expansion and returns us to a purer, more real sense of ourselves. Reborn like an infant, we rediscover our inner core’s humility and possibility. We enter the new year fresh and clearer of our own capacity for good.
Tomorrow night, we enter a new year with the celebration of the holiday. Without hametz, may we rediscover what has been present all along planted within our hearts: our best beautiful selves partnering with God to bring redemption to the whole world.
Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sameah!
- Join us at 6:00 p.m. for Qabbalat Shabbat. Following the service, we will share another virtual oneg. We can pray together HERE on the Temple Israel website, or HERE on Zoom, or even HERE on TI’s Facebook page. Or, just find it all on the website www.tisrael.org/TogetherWithTI.
- Tonight at 5:00 p.m. our littlest congregants join for Tot Rock Shabbat. Join us on Zoom here.
- Torah Study engages everyone. We start with a short Shabbat morning service at 9:00 a.m. with Torah reading and then launch into a provocative discussion. To join the conversation interactively, access Zoom HERE. You can also watch HERE on Temple Israel’s website or HERE on TI’s Facebook page.
- Thank Goodness It’s Shabbat takes place at 10:00 a.m. Join us on Zoom here.
- Gather with us virtually on Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. for our Grand Communal Seder. With our clergy, we will celebrate the transformative ritual of Passover through questions, singing, and celebrating our redemption from Slavery in Egypt. Register HERE. Havdallah will be part of Saturday night’s seder.
- Sunday at 9:30 a.m. discover which of our clergy makes the meanest matzah brei. Join us for a virtual demonstration of their favorite matzah brei recipes, followed by a virtual Passover Festival service HERE.
- Next Friday, April 2, Qabbalat Shabbat will incorporate our Seventh Day Passover Celebration and Yizkor. On Saturday, April 3, Torah Study will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will be followed by an amazing adult B’nai Mitzvah service at 10:00 a.m.