Sunday, 24 March 2013

Pesach And The National Imperative

Although we tend to focus on yetzias Mitzrayim during the Pesach celebrations it is important to remember that one of the underlying features of the entire narrative is the transformation of our ancestors from an ethnic group within the larger Egyptian society into a separate nation with its own identity.
Rav Steinsaltz, shlit"a, both note this important facet in their writings on the holiday.  He asks the question of why we have to remove chametz from our possession.  If we are trying to remember the exodus then it should be enough to have a Seder and eat matzah.  The folks at that first Seder didn't remove chametz from their homes.  Why is it not Pesach for us unless we do?
The Rav then notes an obvious point, one that is repeated throughout the classic Jewish writings.  It's not enough, he writes, to engage in positive expressions of Judaism.  One must also remove the negative from one's life.  One can have the Seder, one can have the positive spritual experience that brings dviekus closer but if one still has chametz, the materialistic gashmiyus, in one's life then this interferes with the full appreciation positive worship of the Ribono shel Olam provides.
This also relaets to the national experience.  It's not enough for a nation to siomply develop some customs and idiosyncracies that define it.  What it stands for and against are equally important.  The Jewish nation must reject much of what the rest of the world considers normal and standard in its quest for holiness.  Matzah balls without perishus from the materialism that surrounds us is not the norm.
On behalf of the staff here at this blog (and that would be pretty much just me) I would like to wish all of you a happy, healthy and filling Pesach and end with this reminder: flavourless Metamucil is kosher for Pesach.  I'm just saying.

1 comment:

querosen said...

amen