on Thursday, 26 February 2015.
Posted in Rabbi's Blog
Preparing Spiritually for Passover
“I was in a tight spot when I called out, ‘Yah*.’”
You responded by opening up escape routes for me.
You are with me so I have no fear.
I can deal with any person with any challenge.” (Psalm 118)
*Yah is one of God’s names.
The Hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzrayim, which means a narrow place of confinement. Egypt represents whatever constricts or limits our lives and keeps us from evolving.
What is your place of constriction? What keeps you from setting yourself free in order to grow and flourish?
From what bondage were you freed during the past year? What set you free? From what bondage do you hope to be freed in the coming year?
The Spiritual Significance of Yeast
The obsessive search for and removal of chametz (leavened foods forbidden during Passover) from our homes has spiritual overtones. Yeast can symbolize arrogance because the bread raises itself above the level of matzo, though it is only filled with pockets of hot air. Yeast is also a catalyst that symbolizes the restless force of the evil inclination (yetzer ha-ra). Just as yeast causes fermentation in bread and wine, it also turns them sour when not controlled. Similarly, desire and ambition can contribute to progress, but also to discontent and corruption.
Types of chametz:
Physical - Weight, clutter, activities, jobs or relationships that take up space but don’t serve me or others.
Mental - Limiting beliefs and fear-based thoughts that are hurting me or others and keeping me stuck.
Emotional - Judgment, criticism, blame, shame, un-forgiveness, anger, self-loathing, resentment toward others.
Spiritual - Negativity, lack of connection to your inner holiness and the Divine around us.
Questions to Ask Yourself
What personal qualities, behaviors and beliefs keep me from thriving? How, in my arrogance (i.e. being “puffed up” like yeast), have I held others back or put them down?
A Personal Exodus
We can liberate ourselves by examining what constricts our lives, and experience how humility and gratitude open our hearts and minds to possibility. Passover, in retelling our ancient freedom story, invites us as individuals and as a community on a journey toward purpose and fulfillment. The journey may not be linear, and we will have to help one another, but through a shared vision we will surely find our way to the Promised Land.
Rabbi Nina J. Mizrahi
Congregation Or Shalom21 Hawthorn ParkwayVernon Hills, IL 60061
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