DAY 1392: Springtime for Passover?

April 22, 2016
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1392: Springtime for Passover?

Dear Hevreh,

Well, Passover is here. Whether you’re having a Seder with 30 of your “closest” friends and family, being a guest somewhere new, having a quiet Seder for just the two of you, or choosing to not celebrate, the holiday has arrived. We mark it with food, with conversation (and debate, of course), but most of all we mark it as a milestone of the year. No matter how Jewish we feel or what kind of Jewish we do, we are aware of Passover’s arrival.

But why is that? Perhaps because it is at the onset of Spring. With weather warming, flowers budding, wardrobes changing, and snowbirds returning, the Spring forces us through its sheer will to take notice of its presence. As such, any holiday timed with the onset of Spring derives some beneficial publicity from its association — when people think of Spring, they think of that holiday. Indeed one of the many names of the holiday of Passover is Hag Ha-Aviv, the Spring Holiday.

Yet while this confluence of timing seems to have helped Passover’s marketing abilities, it may be that, within the Jewish world at least, Passover has become a force of nature unto itself. It is no longer the holiday of Springtime, it is the holiday of our Liberation, of our Freedom as a people from slavery. This is no accident. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel says in his amazing book the Sabbath:

“The festivals of ancient peoples were intimately linked with nature’s seasons…to Israel the unique events of historic time were spiritually more significant than the repetitive processes in the cycle of nature” (7).

In other words, we’ve turned holidays that are marketable by their timing with the seasons into opportunities for teaching the unique history of our people. Our holidays are our stories and they yearn to be taught. So don’t just take note of this incredible holiday; use this opportunity to come together in your own way to share the dramatic story that is our people’s history.

Hag kasher v’sameah (Happy and Kosher Holiday),

Rabbi Ari Saks

Category : Passover Rabbi Rabbi's Journal
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