Rituals and Renewal
Last night I unpacked my Passover dishes (and silverware, cups, pots, etc.). It was both a joyous moment—like seeing old friends again—and one of exhaustion, coming necessarily after the whole cleaning out of the cabinets thing. But as I wash them off and put them away, I can’t help but feel fresh, clean and renewed.
Passover is a lot of work which yields a lot of spiritual reward. In going through the preparation process this year, I thought:
1. Rituals are important. For one thing, I would never completely clean out my kitchen without the external demands of Pesach! It also marks where we are in the annual cycle and that’s comforting.
2. Old friends are important. Of course I don’t confuse plates with people, but bringing out the dishes, which I haven’t seen since last year, evokes a sense of reconnection and reminds me to reconnect to people with whom I have slipped out of regular contact.
3. Renewal is important. We go on at our hurried pace all the time, moving from meeting to meeting, phone call to phone call, chore to chore. We need moments to stop and refresh. The Jewish calendar sets aside the high holidays for moral/ethical renewal and Passover for physical renewal, coinciding with the coming of sprint. Of course, one type naturally leads to the other.
4. Striving is important. The seder reminds us to engage in the struggle for freedom everywhere. We cannot sit idly by; we must work for social justice. We all need that regular push to keep that focus!