By: Yafo Mardakhayeva
In my native language, the word for the holiday of Pesach is known as Nisonu, obviously taken from the month in which it belongs, Nisan. Even if the Soviet Union tried to dismantle Judaism for the far away Jews of the Caucasus’, our redemption will come from the frenzy that goes on to really prepare for Pesach and clean the whole house from top to bottom to get rid of all the chametz.
Though we might not need to clean our chandeliers or give the walls a fresh slab of paint, it’s that feeling that not so coincidentally G-d instilled in us when he created this month of Nisan. The month in which we left Egypt and for many years, generations would remember the story of the exodus by the ritual known as the Seder. It’s that feeling that spring is coming, where all of earth is awakened from the wintery drag. And what better way than to physically toil with sweat and tears to usher in this new beginning.
No wonder Pesach was chosen as the holiday that birthed the Jewish nation. To show all of us how to conquer the physical with the spiritual. Considering that the spiritual was concealed in Egypt, we still knew and believed the time was coming for redemption after years of physical torture. And what redemption could we possibly have now? The Torah has been given to us and passed down for many generations, yet now physically we are so free and spiritually we are constantly challenged.
To fix this, every year we know we have to torture ourselves cleaning to come back to the stage of just flesh and purity like our ancestors did before they were redeemed. And for us, it is such a positive mitzvah getting ready for this beautiful holiday where flowers are blooming with us as well!
Yet, I find the physical part of it all is not the daunting task. I love decluttering and organizing. It’s always the spiritual in today’s world. We should ask ourselves, how do we get ready to renew ourselves and stay anew after the seder? How do we continue to acknowledge it was solely G-d that freed us with the most open miracles the world ever saw? Staying “clean” to stay true to G-d’s words is the true task at hand and purpose to guide our emancipation.
“Let My People Go!” To let us go from the grasp of our first world problems and eat the flattened ego-less dry matzah and accept with new gusto what G-d gave us in the Sinai desert. The gift that keeps on giving. And since we accepted the covenant, we also have to give back in our own unique ways of fulfilling the mitzvot that protects our precious souls and beautifies our world. How much sweeter is our freedom now!
Chag pesach kasher v’sameach!