I don't normally share photos of my children because the Internet scares me, but I love this one of my oldest. It's from her very first Rosh Hashanah (New Year) in 2006 and her arm rolls really made the holiday for me.
The large round challah she's plotting to tear apart is traditionally eaten that time of year. I didn't bake it, as you can tell from the plastic wrap, but bought it from our neighborhood bakery. I know those look like chocolate chips, but they're raisins (leave me alone, I like raisins).
This time of year, we're doing the opposite of cradling a bundle of carbohydrates as big as a baby...we're preparing to get rid of them. Passover starts the night of April 15th the biggest prohibition of the holiday is leaven ie. bread. Anything risen with yeast, baking powder, etc.
The specifics vary depending on observance level and interpretation of Jewish law but basically it's a festival to remember that the children of Israel were released from 400+ years of bondage and fled Egypt with a quickness. As they were scrambling with packing and babies, they didn't have time to let their bread rise so they ate matzah- unleavened bread- that, depending on the culture, can look like large crackers or flatbread.
The purpose of ridding one's home of leaven and eating unleavened bread for the week is to remember. And be grateful. I've heard other interpretations and extrapolations about leaven representing a haughtiness, thinking highly of oneself, being "puffed up" like bread.
Religion can do that to a person...life can do that to a person: make them think they're better than others.
When we get rid of the leaven in my house to prepare for Passover, I think about the leaven in my life. What am I full of that I shouldn't be?
It's a stressful time of year because we have to consume everything with leaven between now and April 15th, donate what hasn't been opened, and throw away the rest. I don't know about you but wasting food any time of year is unacceptable to me, but in this economy it feels almost like a crime.
So in addition to getting rid of leaven, it reminds me that it's God who provides and that my faith is in Him, not my stores of goods. It's really a double whammy type of lesson learned the best way: by doing.
I'm keeping an eye on my deep freezer and wondering how many grilled cheese sandwiches I can get my kids to eat in the next two weeks.
Beyond the food, I'm thinking about what's inside of my soul, identity, and heart that needs to go.
My prayer for this time of year is...
I don't expect to be able to see what inside of me has no place in a child of Yours. Please help me to see it and get rid of it. If I can't on my own, which I probably can't, please help me. I tend to hoard to feel safe in uncertainty. Cling to whatever I have. Letting go of things isn't my favorite. Help me remember that it's from You all blessings come and to live with open hands and by faith.
In Yeshua's name I pray, Amen
My newest book: Dear God, Help I'm a Parent is coming June 28, 2022. Preorder here