Thoughts on Pesach
Pesach is a time when Jews across the world commemorate the freeing of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
BY: Malachi Kosanovich
I went to the grocery store last week and there was an entire aisle that isn’t usually there. Kosher for Pesach cake mixes, cookies, pastas, and crackers filled up almost a whole aisle of the store as the surrounding Jewish community begins preparations for Pesach. For those of you who aren’t practicing Jews, this probably doesn’t mean anything so let me explain. Pesach is a time when Jews across the world commemorate the freeing of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt. We celebrate the miracles that G…d provided to aid us, and we seek to understand the burdens felt by our ancestors as they fled through the wilderness. One of the ways we commemorate the Exodus is by imitating our ancestor’s inability to wait for the bread to rise as they fled. We reject, for Pesach week, the five grains (wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and oats). We eat nothing that has been leavened – no bread, no pasta, no rice.
We rigorously change our dietary habits in order to feel, for a few days, the hardship that our terrified ancestors felt as they fled Egyptian rule. The point is to try to share in the suffering of a people running for their lives, a people who had no time to wait for the bread to rise, a people for whom waiting was an issue of life or death. This brings me back to the grocery store. It is now possible to commemorate the Exodus without changing much of your dietary habits. For everything we are not supposed to eat there is a substitute.