Posted by: Rabbi Cecilia Beyer on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 12:00:00 am Comments (0)
“I was asked to act when I couldn't act. I was asked to sing ‘Funny Face’ when I couldn't sing, and dance with Fred Astaire when I couldn't dance - and do all kinds of things I wasn't prepared for. Then I tried like mad to cope with it.” Audrey Hepburn was speaking about her career, but her words could easily apply to the approach many of us have to the Passover season. There is so much to do, both physically and spiritually, in order to prepare for the holiday of liberation that we may never feel prepared, but we may “try like mad to cope with it.” While we may know, as Alexander Graham Bell did, that “before anything else, preparation is the key to success,” many of us feel that we cope with, rather than prepare for, Passover.
The Shabbat that follows Purim is known as “Shabbat Parah.” We read from two Torah scrolls, and from the second scroll we read the special maftir for this Shabbat, which tells of the curious ritual of the red heifer. The ashes of the red heifer were combined with water to ritually purify anyone who had been in contact with a dead body and was thus ritually impure. Be-
cause only those who were ritually pure could eat from the Passover sacrifice, a public announcement right before the month of Nissan served as a reminder for those who had become impure to purify themselves before the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover
Just as our ancestors needed to purify themselves and prepare for Passover both physically and spiritually, so, too, do we. We clean our houses physically of any hametz, or leavened products, and we also do something of a spring-cleaning of our souls, removing the “spiritual hametz,” those bloated, overblown things about ourselves that stand in the way of our own personal liberation. While the physical preparation for Passover may be daunting - the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and seder-planning are indeed intense – it is this spiritual preparation that must be at the heart of it. Just as we clean out our closets and pantries and renew in the spring, so
too must we clean out our egos and our souls, getting rid of that which is bogging us down, so we can make way for renewed energy and joy during Passover, a holiday which celebrates our freedom. What is bogging you down? What can you let go of as you empty your home and yourself of hametz?
As Passover approaches, if you are feeling overwhelmed by either the physical or spiritual preparation it entails, or simply have questions about the “how-to” of Passover prep, do not hesitate to ask – I am prepared to help!