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A Different Night

Thursday, 4 April, 2013 - 8:02 am

Question of the Week:      

So it's Pesach again. Another Seder night where we meet up with distant relatives we almost forgot about, to tell a story that we aren't allowed to forget about. Is it really necessary more than 3000 years on to still commemorate our ancestors' freedom from slavery in Egypt? Can't we move on to more pressing and contemporary issues?


My friend, you are reading the wrong Haggada. The Seder is not just a memorial to events of the distant past - it is a dynamic process of freedom from the challenges of the present.

We are slaves. Slaves to our own inhibitions, fears, habits, cynicism and prejudices. These self-appointed pharaohs are layers of ego that prevent us from expressing our true inner self, from reaching our spiritual potential. Our souls are incarcerated in selfishness, laziness and indifference.

Pesach means "Passover". It is the season of liberation, when we pass over all these obstacles to inner freedom. On Pesach, we give our souls a chance to be expressed.

Reread the Haggada. Every time it says "Egypt" read "limitations". Replace the word "Pharaoh" with "Ego". And read it in the present tense:

"We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt" =

"We are slaves to our egos, stuck in our limitations."

How do we free ourselves? By eating Matzah.  After eating Matzah, the Israelites were able to run out of Egypt and follow G-d into the desert. Because Matzah represents the suspension of ego. Unlike bread, which has body and taste, Matzah is flat and tasteless - the bread of surrender.

Usually, we are scared to suspend our egos, because we think that we will lose ourselves. On Pesach we eat the Matzah, we suspend our egos and find ourselves - our true selves.

This night is different from all other nights, because on this night we let ourselves go, we liberate our souls to follow G-d unashamed. We say, "I may not understand what this means, but I have a Jewish soul, and somehow that is the deepest layer of my identity."

That soul is the innocent child within us is waiting to be free. This Pesach, let's allow that child to sing:

Ma Nishtana Halayla Haze...

Good Shabbos and Happy Pesach,

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