On Passover (also called Pesach) we refrain from eating “chametz”. Chametz (leavening) is anything made from five types of grain and left to rise more than 18 minutes. So basically, the prelude to this holiday is crazy spring cleaning, getting rid of any chametz in the house before Passover starts, and not bringing anything not kosher for Passover into the house until after Passover. It also involves koshering your kitchen and making sure not to mix the “chametz” with the Passover stuff.
As you can imagine, the logistics are enough to cause anyone an ulcer. At least they are if you are not living alone, continue to work and have a family to feed and take care of while trying to get everything else done. Say the word Pesach to me and there is an immediate visceral reaction of stress.
The question I have been asking myself for years is why do we all tend to make things so much harder on ourselves than it really has to be. Passover is the holiday that represents freedom yet way too many people feel like slaves in the weeks before Passover. A self imposed slavery.
I personally have never found chometz on a dusty window, yet it seems that windows have somehow been made part of the “have to clean” list for Passover. This year I made a conscious decision not to kill myself in the pre-Passover madness. In less than a week (and at a very relaxed pace) what really needed to get done got done. (My husband does not know who ran off with his wife because I am usually a ranting lunatic at this point.)
I think it all comes down to the pressure we put on ourselves. I think it’s all about what we allow, both physically and emotionally, to shackle us. I think that we really just miss the point sometimes.
In my opinion, the lesson of Passover is learning to free yourself, both physically and emotionally. It’s about letting go of physical things you have no need for and letting go of emotional attachments, grudges and self limiting thoughts that are hurtful and holding you back.
We get caught up in the details and preparations for the holiday but often miss the big picture. Sure, you need to clean and prepare the house for Passover, but do you have to clean yourself into exhaustion? Holidays bring families together, but the pressure around the preparations can drive a wedge between people.
Slavery is a fallen state of consciousness. I think too many of us live our lives enslaved. We do things without thinking too much about whether what we are doing is really working for us. We are creatures of habit and are easily enslaved to the familiar, secure and the stable, sometimes at a great cost to our happiness.
The road from slavery to freedom is a process. When you have been enslaved for a long time to anything—be it a thought, idea, person, object, job or a point of view—making a change requires time and a process.
Passover reminds me that there is always the possibility for change.
What do you want to set yourself free from and what step can you take in that direction?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog from our contributor in Israel, Susie Newday.
The image used in this post is attributed to the author.