Friday, April 18, 2008

Pesach - the Atkins Holiday

Pesach (Passover). The word alone inspires both fear and an intense need to clean for Jews around the world. We scour our rooms, kitchens, offices, cars and every other area on a quest for eliminating products made from wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt. The rest, as they say, is up for intepretation.

In my interpretation, the world is a global village where none of the hard-pressed rules about Jews from Eastern Europe (Ashkenazis) similarly avoiding beans, corn, soy and rice as if they were bacon-wrapped scallops need apply. Likewise, those Sephardi Jews from Spain and North Africa or the Mizrahis from all over the Near East should be able to eat potatoes with abandon. But since I don't run the world or any board of Jewish law, my revolution is still limited to me.

There's another big aspect of Pesach that seems to get lost in all the insanity of preparation and only occasionally makes a big appearance at our annual seders. That idea, however elusive, of delivery and freedom. In our modern society, with all the immense freedoms afforded by the Bill of Rights and the culture of the individual, we can all too easily forget we are still imprisoned by concepts like status, appearance, health, etc.

It's a little beyond me right now to get into a whole post about what freedom all means and how we can strive for it in our daily lives. Right now, I just want to offer a little Passover prayer.

May God grant us all a speedy and complete deliverance from the evils that plague us; from the tormentors who would constrain us; from the thoughts that enslave us; and from the hate with which we limit ourselves.
Dare to hope and make time to pray for our freedom.

Chag sameakh!

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