Tzafun, meaning hidden, is typically the time when the Afikomen is ransomed off by a person at the Passover Seder. Yet a greater significance lies beneath the surface of this juvenile ritual. In English we have the concept of finding one’s inner compass, meaning being true to oneself. The Hebrew language takes this one step further. Every time Israelis refer to pangs of conscience (“yisurei matzpun” or “nekifot matzpun”), they are, in a sense, talking about the difficulty in finding their true north. That’s because “matzpun,” the Hebrew word for “conscience,” comes from the root צ-פ-ן, which means both “hidden” (“tzafun”) and “north” (“tzafon”). On Passover, we are compelled to give voice to our inner conscience. This is the time where we not only speak about the injustices of our past, but a time we bring attention to instances of discrimination, oppression and corruption in the world. What is it that irks your conscience?
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