Passover is one of my most favorite holidays, not because the immense cleaning that takes place beforehand… or the overpriced kosher for Passover items that we have to purchase. And it’s not my favorite holiday because of the fun Seder night we always have with my family and friends, which it totally is!
It’s about the mental cleaning that takes place right after the holiday of Purim and leading to Passover. I am reminded of a joke of a Hasidic guy on a train humming a song to himself. Then comes the ticket collector and he sees a luggage next to the man. And he tells the man, “Is this your luggage, Sir? You need to put it under your seat.” The man continues humming and the employee gets really annoyed and says, “Mr. If you don’t take this luggage I’m going to throw it out the window.” The man continues humming,and before you know it, the employee takes the luggage and throws it out the window of a moving train! And he says to the man. “I threw your luggage outside the window of this moving train.”
The man continues humming but also sings words. The words he says (try to do it while singing your favorite tune to your favorite song) “ this wasn’t my luggage, this wasn’t my luggage. this wasn’t my luggage, this wasn’t my luggage.”
Some luggage, friends, is not ours. They belong to someone else. And the holiday of Passover is to remind us of the extra luggage that we carry on our backs (or put on our dogs as this picture so beautifully conveys)! It’s the hametz, the unleavened that somehow, we have allowed into our space and now it’s our opportunity to get rid of it. To cleanse us. To declutter our mental space.
Passover commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from slavery, and although it took place three thousand years ago, the Hagaddah instructs every Jew to see himself or herself as one who actually came out of Egypt—“B’chol dor v’dor chayav adam lirot et atzmo ke-eeloo hoo yatza mimitzrayim.” Mitzrayim comes from the word tzar, narrow. This holiday offers us the opportunity to come out of our narrow place which we perhaps carved for ourselves the previous year. It’s the opportunity to be a little lighter (on the scale as well!). It’s the opportunity to sense the beginning of the spring, the renewal of yourself, and the realization of that which is the most important to you. All else is Hametz!