Archives for March 2013

Passover Reflections – March 17 – 24, 2013

A Connection Through Time                                    

The week is coming to a close, and Monday night will be the first night of Passover. For me, this weekend will be about cleaning our house until there is no more chametz left anywhere. Chametz is the Hebrew word that stands for all leavened foods forbidden during Passover (wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt and their derivatives). The outer act of cleaning our homes — of emptying our homes from chametz –– is there to trigger the beginning of an inner process of emptying ourselves from our leavened ego, our puffed-up-ness, which will continue to unfold over the eight days of Passover.

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Passover Reflections – March 10 – 16, 2013

Mah Nish’tanah? What Has Changed?

Although we closed the Book of Exodus last week, with Passover around the corner, its stories linger still in our consciousness. This is the time of the year, personally, when I delight in re-opening the Passover Haggadah and in looking inside for more treasures to be revealed. Three years ago I compiled a new version of the Bet Alef Haggadah, drawing from many sources and teachers that have inspired me along the years. I thought, this year, that I would invite you into my own process of preparing myself to meet the holiday, by sharing excerpts from the Bet Alef Haggadah that call to me:

Egypt in Hebrew is Mitzrayim. Mitzrayim means “narrow places.” Our Egypts are those places in our lives that have become lifeless — aspects of ourselves that feel constricted, bound up, unable to be expressed. Our Egypts [also] represent our falling into the dullness of everyday life, the deadening routine of an existence where we have lost consciousness. The Haggadah tells the story not only of our Exodus from a physical Egypt, but perhaps most importantly, our exodus from an Egypt of a deadening mindless rut, where things lose their taste and meaning as a consequence of repetitiveness. Delving into the Hebrew for the word “Haggadah” suggests a way out of our enslavement. The word comes from the root “nagod” which means “to oppose”– to go against that which exists within the repetitive banality of our day-to-day existence.

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Torah Reflections – March 3 – 9, 2013

Vayak’heil-P’kudey

Exodus 35:1 – 40:38

Our Spiritual Attitude Toward Work             

This week’s double portion in our Torah reading marks the conclusion of the Book of Exodus. The construction of the Tabernacle begins in earnest, only preceded by Moses gathering the entire community of Israel to tell them that even during the construction of this Mishkan (Hebrew for Tabernacle),

for six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Eternal.” [Exod.35:2]

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