Will the Real Passover Please Stand up? Passover Trilogy, Part II

Now that I’ve ruffled some feathers or raised some hackles with PART I, I’m going to (hopefully) redeem myself. After all, Pesach (Passover) is all about redemption.

Passover is a special time to focus on on liberating ourselves from all the oppressive behaviors and influences holding us down.

In the retelling of the Passover tale every year we don’t actually say Egypt in Hebrew, we say Mitzrayim, a word meaning “tight, constricted space.” The first step is identifying the toxic patterns that keep us locked into a tight, constricted space. Is it workaholism? Addictions of any kind? Toxic environments or relationships?

Before Passover begins we prepare by engaging in a thorough spring cleaning of our abodes. The Passover tradition to clean all the nooks and crannies of our homes has an emotional and spiritual equivalent. (Mind, body, spirit). By cleaning your spiritual house you make a defining statement about what you wish to manifest. We are called upon to define our tribe and tend to our flock (human and animal) as Moses did in his story.

The energy we allow to dwell in our spaces can uplift and inspire us or keep us trapped in mitzrayim.

The Torah tells us, “redemption comes on Pesach.” They equated oppression to mochin d’katnut — a small, constricted consciousness.

Mochin d’katnut has the same meaning as the Passover word Mitzrayim. Conversely, the Ba’al Shem Tov said the ticket to emotional freedom is mochin d’gadlut — expanded consciousness.

Here we see the Jewish Sages were talking about two different states of consciousness using the two concepts, constricted space and freedom, that epitomize Passover.

Before Passover begins we clear our homes of chametz (leavened food or food mixed with leaven). In the original definition, “chametz” meant “last year’s spoiled grain.” We can see why it was necessary to get rid of spoiled grain, which may be infested with insects (plagues) and cause serious illness.

On a spiritual level, what is spoiled grain in your life? We prepare to leave our constricted place and redeem ourselves by letting go of the “spoiled/tainted” things that plague us in mind, body and spirit.

In the Torah, once the Israelites were “free,” they lamented leaving Egypt and spoke longingly of the meat and bread they ate there to their fill. They were royally peeved at Moses for taking them out of Egypt!! (Shemot/Exodus 14:11-12/16:3).

In the words of the Jewish Sages, the Israelites not only had to take themselves out of Egypt, they had to learn to take Egypt (Mitzrayim) out of themselves. Oppression and redemption sometimes comes from others and sometimes comes from within.

They were stuck in a state of Mochin d’katnut (small, constricted consciousness). There is fear involved in leaving the familiar state of constriction for the unknown and uncharted territory of liberation.

In Kabbalah, the Divine attribute connected to Passover is Sefirah Chesed (Kindness). Sefirah Chesed is counterbalanced by Sefirot Gevurah (Strength) and Din (Judgment). This tells us that kindness must be balanced by strong and healthy boundaries (good judgment). As long as we are seeking to placate, cleave to and entertain that which is plagued by toxicity, we are not free.

On Passover, it’s traditional to open a door to let the prophet Eliyahu (Elijah) in. Chasidut (Schneerson) teaches that “we open the door not so much to let Elijah in as to let ourselves out.

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8 thoughts on “Will the Real Passover Please Stand up? Passover Trilogy, Part II

  1. Phil Sutherland

    Many rabbis and scholars agree with your position and emphasize the same thing that you do. Even if it is a story, it is designed to affect our behavior and keep us going and growing in the right direction. When taking the Melton classes, it was pointed out many times that there are lots of conflicts in Torah with the stories told. Questions arise about who wrote what and if some passages were written by the same author that is identified. I don’t think that is really a problem. You are correct that we do tend to embellish stories when repeated. I think back to my childhood when we played a game when something was whispered from one person to the next and by the time it got to the last person, it was not even remotely the same story that had started out. I think that the important thing is for us to take the lesson from what is written. We know from reading the various commentaries, and writings of the sages, that even the most brilliant scholars differed on the interpretation of various sections of the Torah. The old joke applies here too, two Jews and three opinions. What really matters is that we take the intended lessons and whatever helps us from it and that it helps us navigate life’s paths. It is okay to have different opinions on the nature of Torah, but, we still keep together as fellow Jews and enjoy the blessings of a very special community regardless of the differences.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Soul Circle

      Amein!! Thank you for sharing all your thoughts and experiences. Love it! I believe we all learn and grow and gain from each other’s insights. The old joke always proves to be true! Chag Sameach!✌️🖖😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great follow-up post and discussion in the comments here. 🙂

    Perhaps parable would be a better term than myth, except the proper definition of a parable includes that it’s a short story. Nobody will accuse the Torah or Old Testament of being short, hehe.

    At any rate, I’d agree that however literal the story is, there are great lessons to take from it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Soul Circle

      Thank you for reading and sharing your reflections!! Always enjoy them. I agree, parable is a better term for this religious story than myth.

      A short story the Tanakh is not! Especially since the Jewish sages said every word, chapter and verse could be interpreted 70 different ways. And by 70 they meant numerous, not an exact number. LOL. I dig it because it’s like push-ups for our brains. Keeps us on our toes.

      Liked by 2 people

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