Here's our FIRST BLOG POST- it's a shehekheyanu moment!
7 Nisan 5775
In one short week, on the full moon of the 15th of Nisan, millions of Jews around the world, as they have done for centuries, will be stopping their regular work to celebrate Passover. What is ZMANIM doing for Passover, and what are two specific practices for preparing meaningfully for this holiday? Read below for more!
Preparing for Passover
Passover, like many of our Jewish holidays, does not appear in a vacuum, descending out of nowhere and inviting us to tap into opportunities for spiritual growth and development unique to this holiday, this season, and this moment (singular: zman; plural: zmanim) in our lives. One of the ways that we can access more of the depths of this holiday comes from preparation. There are many ways to prepare, but one traditional way is to remove hametz from one's home, car, and diet, during the week of Passover. What is this hametz that we are to remove? Traditionally it was understood as "leavened products" and included wheat and 4 other grains, that had been previously mixed with water. Ashkenazim, Jews of Eastern European descent, further included other small food items, just as legumes and rice, because when ground into flour they could be mistaken for the 5 traditional grains that the early rabbis prohibited for this season.
To this end, we offer two related, but different practices:
1) A practice while searching for traditional hametz: If we choose to go through our cupboards, our car, our office, and any place where we might find traditional hametz, we will be in the company of many others who are, and who have been, preparing for this holiday in such a way. As we do so, the opportunity exists to not just search out the traditional hametz, but while doing so to ask ourselves, "How is this hametz part of us? Where are we puffed up, 'leavened,' and taking up more space than we might need to?
2) A practice for searching for non-traditional hametz: As we go through our home, we can expand our search to include not just food items, but to search through our home for all of that which is attached to us, and which expands and bloats us. Perhaps it is clothing, bedding, toys, books, jewelry, shoes or something else. Let us see what surplus we might remove this year from our lives. Let us look for that which fills us with air, leaving us big, and over-full, yet undernourished. Let us remove those items- food or otherwise- from our lives, and pass them on to someone who needs them, someone whom they will nourish. But if it makes sense, we can also tap into our tradition of actually burning any remaining hametz before the holiday begins!
This Passover, may you find that you can take advantage of the week-long retreat that this holiday offers us. May you free yourself from hametz in new ways, and begin this springtime season with a freshness and lightness that comes from the freedom of simplicity.