Passover is upon us and begins this Friday night.
It’s the season of questions.
And as my head is bursting with logistics around hosting seder for 20 and my hands are dry from so much cleaning, I want to return to an essential question that I am carrying with me this Passover: “What brings us to life?”
There are so many ways in which the routine of our lives can deaden our sensibilities. We go through our days in management mode, making sure everything is going along as it should. We numb ourselves and our feelings through all kinds of vices. And the pulsing needs of the world, together with our potential to offer our unique contribution to meet those needs sometimes don’t penetrate the armor of our day-to-day.
Our story of our own personal liberation can come about when we dare to begin to answer that question, “What brings me to life?” and take a small step to act on it.
We are so aware of what brings our children to life; what kinds of activities they love, which friend makes them feel at home in themselves, or what topics they have an insatiable curiosity around. But seldom do we turn that question on ourselves.
A friend and wise rabbi, Rabbi David Ebstein, shared this insight gleaned from Rav Shlomo Wolbe (1914-2005) about the Haggadah. He writes that the placement of the invitation, “Let all who are hungry come and eat” which opens the Maggid section of the Haggadah, cannot really relate to inviting more people to your seder table (because when we read the phrase, we are all gathered around the table already!).
Rabbi Ebstein suggests that “Let all who are hungry come and eat” is referring to all of us who are already there and is an invitation for us to ask ourselves: What are we hungry for this Passover? What is the need that we have, spiritual, emotional, or physical, that will allow us to be our full selves this Passover? Put another way, what will bring us to life this Passover?
With all of your preparation for the holiday, I invite you to take a moment to find a quiet spot, a few minutes, and to take a few deep breaths. Consider what is one thing, big or small, that brings you to life this Passover. And in the days ahead seek out opportunities to experience that feeling of liberation.