Pesach and Creation? Well you might ask!

Haggadah Section: Introduction

The festival of Passover contains an unmissable connection to the theme of Creation.

Firstly - It is one of the four new years of the Jewish calendar - the other three being Rosh Hashanah, Tu b'Shevat and the 1st Elul. Thus, Nissan, the month that Pesach falls in, was traditionally seen as one of the first months of the Jewish year.

Secondly - Pesach celebrates spring, rebirth, and renewal, symbolized by the green “ karpas ” (spring greens) and the egg on the seder plate. It is also a time of “beginning,” as exemplified by the first grain harvest and the birth or creation of Israel as a nation.

Thirdly - meticulous preparation is the theme of the weeks and days leading up to Pesach. Every speck of hametz (yeast or leaven) must be removed from the house in the days before sitting down to the seder table. But it is not only the physical hametz that we should spring clean from our individual worlds - it is also the spiritual “hametz” – any type of arrogance, indulgence, or self-assertion. While Pesach is “ z’man heyruteinu, ” the season of our freedom, it is also a festival that speaks of spiritual redemption. Not only were the Jews freed from physical slavery but also from mental slavery. It was as a physically and spiritually free people that the Jewish nation prepared to receive the Torah on Mount Sinai. As slaves, the Israelites had no choice but to be self-denying. After liberation, they had to learn to trust G!d and to freely choose to humble themselves and subject themselves to G!d’s sovereignty.

In addition, traditional Judaism interprets hametz as a metaphor for the “ yetzer hara “–the evil inclination. The absence of leaven is epitomized by matzah, the flat bread Jews eat during Passover. The notion of spiritual redemption is in part demonstrated by the fundamental Jewish idea that in every generation every individual is obliged to view him or herself as though he or she had actually gone forth from Egypt. Egypt is “ Mitzraim ” in Hebrew. It stems from the root “ tzar, ” which means narrow or constrained. In order to leave Egypt, each individual must break out of personal narrowness, becoming free to achieve his full spiritual potential. Thus, Pesach is a time for us to break free from our "yetzer hara" - our "narrow spaces" and to embrace more fully our "yetzer hatov" (our inclination to do good in the world).

Matzah, of course, is our link between what "was" and what "will be" - between exile and redemption, between our slavery and our freedom. It is simultaneously the bread of affliction, eaten by slaves who did not have decent food, and it is the bread of freedom, because when the Jews left Egypt, they rushed away with no time to let their unleavened bread rise.

With all of this in mind, let us begin our Passover Seder this year with the intention to look at things as if for the first time (and perhaps it is the first time for some of you - in which case Welcome!) But, for those who are veteran Seder attendees, I hope this Haggadah will help to bring new life to these age-old and unchanging rituals. I intend for this Haggadah to embrace both the traditional and familiar texts and at the same time "start a conversation that reflects our interesting, hilarious, modern, multi-cultural, thought-provoking lives." (Quoted from the introductory video)

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Passover Guide

Hosting your first Passover Seder? Not sure what food to serve? Curious to
know more about the holiday? Explore our Passover 101 Guide for answers
to all of your questions.

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