So I have a very relevant Pesach insight that I’d like to share with you that you can think about whilst you are munching your matzah on Pesach😋
It’s interesting, when we start reading through the Haggadah on Seder night we see straight away that the matzahs are the symbol that is used to symbolise our slavery… (We start the Haggadah by holding up a broken piece of matza and stating “ha lachma anya – this is the bread of affliction.”)… But then as we progress in the Hagaddah, we see that matzah is used to symbolise not slavery but freedom! …
So we have a paradox – How can something that represents slavery represent freedom at the same time, which is of course the exact opposite of slavery!?
So… my friend Rabbi Yehonasan Geffen showed me what the Maharal of Prague (a great Kabbalist) says regarding this question. The Maharal’s answer is absolutely amazing!
Let me tell it to you…
Have you ever noticed how highschool kids go through phases of hairstyles (eg for boys: Mohawk, Emo, Comb-over) and once that trend hits, e v e r y o n e seems to join in. Why is that?
As you know it is because we have a deep need to feel accepted by those around us, so we do whatever we think will get us this acceptance from our peers – we make sure that we have the right hairstyles – we wear the right clothes – we watch the right TV shows, etc etc etc.
But what happens if a person looses their hair so they can’t have a Mohawk or a comb-over? What happens if someone (and their family) lose all of their money and possessions so now they don’t have the cool clothes that used to make them feel like they are so ‘in’ and they don’t have their TV and their computer and their phone – so now they don’t even know what’s trending? What I’m asking is: What if a person loses everything that makes them feel good about themselves and accepted in their social group?
Well, if this happens you know what… All this person has left, after everything else has gone, is… THEMSELVES!!!
When you take everything external away from someone – including the things that give them esteem – all they have left is who they truly are behind all of these externals! If someone who loses all of their externals can come to know their true self (instead the image they used to attach their identity to) and if they can accept and love and believe in their true self which lives behind all of the facades and the masks… Then they are free in a way that they simply weren’t free before!
We see that matzah represents both slavery and freedom which are opposites, because sometimes a person has to lose everything like a slave, to find their true selves, which in truth, from a certain perspective, is all we ever have.
So… On Seder night and over Pesach, when you are eating your matzah, ask yourself:
Who is the REAL me – after I look behind all of my material externals that fill up my consciousness such as my looks (hair, clothes…) and possessions… If all of these were to be taken away – who is left?
By the way, the Seder night gives us a clue to our true identity because it shows us that we are part of the special, holy Jewish nation which has a special mission of which you have an integral contribution!
So… I wish you a meaningful Seder night and Pesach and as you go through this festival which is called ‘the time of our freedom’ I hope that you will be able to take some moments out, perhaps as you munch some matzah, to meditate upon who you really are at your essence, and in doing so, become one step closer to being truly free.
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