Sunday, April 04, 2010

It depends what you're looking for...

You need to have good eyes for Pesach. I'm not talking about having decent eyesight to read the pages of Haggadah-text on the Seder nights (although that is useful), I mean you need sharp eyes to prepare for and enjoy Pesach.

First, you need eagle-eyes for the chametz-search on the night before Pesach. As you search for those ten small pieces of bread, you also seek your own character weaknesses so that you can overcome them. In other words, before Pesach, you look for- and find- problems.

On the next night, at the Pesach Seder, you search again. This time, you look for matzah (the antithesis of bread). Your search is not for just any matzah, but for the elusive afikoman. Beyond the kiddies' treasure hunt, the afikoman represents the hidden essence of your soul that you should constantly strive to reveal. Your soul's own power is unstoppable, if you can only activate it. So, on Pesach night you look for solutions.

These two searches are typical of the opposing attitudes of Pharaoh and Moses, or pre- and post Exodus mentalities. What's common to both is the life-maxim that whatever you look for, you'll find. 

When Moses told Pharaoh to let the Jews go, Pharaoh invented a most creative spectrum of excuses for them to stay put. He warned Moses to be practical and not to spoil his people's employment opportunities, he recommended that the children stay behind to avoid the stress of desert travel and he even warned that the stars bode ill for Moses' people. Pharaoh looked for excuses and he found some really good ones.  Moses looked for opportunity and he saved our nation. 

Pesach reminds us that we will find what we look for in life. Even before Pesach starts, we look for the problems with a view to resolve them. Once Pesach begins, we only look for opportunities and solutions. At Pesachtime, you need to be wary of the sophisticated and apparently well-intentioned views offered by Pharaoh and take encouragement instead from the positive outlook of Moses.

You might come up with watertight excuses for not making spiritual progress. But, then you are Pharaoh's slave. Alternatively, you could look for opportunity and leap into action. Then you follow Moses to free yourself from the shackles of your own self-doubt, called Egypt.

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