From 14 until 22 Nisan we have a special time to remember how the Elohim helped His people but also how the Nazarene came into this world to be there for all people, not only for Jews.
That rebbe asked his followers to be good to others and to be to all of them like brothers and sisters. When he enjoyed the opening of the festival he washed the feet of his talmidim and asked them to be ready to help others. For him the seder table is, as it should also be for us, a roll call for some families and groups of friends. We too like Jesus and his fellow-men should gather every year, sit around the table together.
When celebrating Passover we should count our blessings and be thankful that God was willing to be by His People and to guide all of those who are willing to believe in Him and praise Him. This time is a special time where we should notice the good things in our life. Instead of holiday cards, we also could sent sweet notes, thank you letters or cards and could use the internet to reach out via social media. Real visits, real cards and letters, and real food require more than email. You should go out these days, when you are free and for those who live to far away you could write personal thank-you notes.
Thank-you notes have a function beyond saying “thank you.”
Now is the time to tell the people who have been good to you specifically why you are grateful for them. Choose to notice what’s right, instead of focusing on what’s wrong. Be yourself thankful for the liberation God brought to our People but also to us personally. Remark also how thank-you notes are forcing you to pay attention to the people who took time to send you affection. See and share the affection you got from God and from God His creatures.
Remember these days also how human relationships are holy. That is one of the great messages of Torah, that every encounter is a potential moment for holiness. Rabbeinu Bachya ibn Pekuda,the 11th century great Spanish rabbi and philosopher and medieval teacher of ethics, taught that to cultivate an awareness of the presence and goodness of God, we should be mindful of the kindnesses done to us by other human beings and take special care to say “thank you” for those kindnesses.
As his second gate of his guide he required “Gratitude toward God” and as his 8th gate “Self-examination/self-awareness”. Before we came to the Passover we should already have taken time to think about those very important elements of truth. This tiny preliminary step is critical for our spiritual development according to Bachya.
This week of chag HaMatzot (Feast of Unfermented Breads) we should focus on what we can do for other people.
Soup kitchens and shelters need extra volunteers on holidays, so that those who celebrate those days can do so with their families. Call around, and see who needs volunteers. (Remember, several Christians are celebrating Easter about the same time we celebrate Passover.) Say kind words to people who need kindness.
If you have money, share it.
If you have food, share that.
Looking outside ourselves can break cycles of destructive thoughts.
This chag is also to remember the slavery of our body and as such we should take time to get rid of the bad things in our guf “lijf” or our body and should take time to make it healthy again.
Don’t live to eat or sleep, but eat wisely and healthy, dividing your time in physical activities and rest.
Move more than you have been moving. For some that might be a walk around the house. For others, that might be a few kilometres run or a preparing for the 20 km of Brussels or marathons which shall be coming soon. Choose something do-able that will push you a bit. You will sleep better and feel better.
For our liberation of the daily troubles we need also to be able to switch the button. Meditation or coming to reflect about many things with others, is good for body and soul; for some people, it’s like a “reset button” in their day.
Part of what happens to us with holidays is that we build up those expectations and load them onto one day, or one week a year. Certainly with this most high chag for which we used several weeks to prepare ourselves, by cleaning the house, by praying special prayers, by making everything ready to welcome our guests.
Please do not keep the feeling just to this one week, but try to feel the joy for that liberation and to carry it with you, sharing it to others.
Let others know that in the world of God there is no room for enemies. We all should become transformed into God His beloved and cherished allies — and as brothers and sisters all becoming His beloved children. Showing to the world that those who are born of God shall overcome the world and that we all shall be united by our faith, being one as children of God. (1 John 5:4)
Let others now about your hope for the future. Show them how God provided freedom of the souls, not only for Jews but for all people who are willing to come into a good relationship with the Elohim. By witnessing about the Grace of salvation you shall be able to carry the Good News not only in your heart but feel happy to share it with the loved ones around you. The witnessing is part of sharing your love with them. And that love should grow by each Passover, because each time you should come to see the importance of that salvation and how closer we come to the end-times, by which the moment of truth shall be there for every one … and for some too late to change.
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