So, here we are, the last day of Hol HaMoed, the intermediate “half-holidays” in the middle of Pesach. Tonight, we begin the last 2 days which are “full-holidays” leading up to the ancient and sacred words which will be spoken throughout the Jewish world on Saturday night, called; “Can we go out for pizza now?”.
By this point on the holiday of Pesach, most of us have eaten more candy and Pesach cookies than we should have. Our refrigerators are notably emptier than they will be over the entire year as the last of the Seder leftovers have either been eaten or disposed of and we’re desperately looking for something other than gefilte fish to eat.
The truth is that too often Pesach turns into the holiday of eating habits rather than the holiday remembering slavery and redemption.
We do pretty well at our Seders focusing on the serious questions of freedom and celebrating our redemption but as the holiday goes along, we tend to focus on the fact that we can’t stop at Starbuck’s, have to drive past Dairy Queen without stopping and the reality that meals, especially breakfast it seems, are just so difficult.
That is truly unfortunate.
The themes of Pesach are eternal. They are intended to inspire us throughout the entire year, let alone through the 8 days.
So, at this point of our Pesach observance, I suggest that we all take a long look at the matza at some point today and remember what this holiday is all about.
As Rabbi Blumenthal and I wrote in our Pesach message to the congregation:
The Exodus story helps us to be sensitive to the plight of refugees. It helps us to be aware of the imperative to care about those who are not free in this world, and work to free the victims of modern day slavery. The Haggadah reminds us to teach the next generation to ask questions and to find appropriate answers for all of our children. Finally, the eternal symbols of the Seder remind us that we must to seek ways to adapt our ancient faith to today’s world and to build for an even more vibrant future our people.
These are messages that do not lose importance after the Seders. They must remain as the central point to focus on throughout this holiday, throughout all 8 days.