Virtual Talmud

Rabbi Grossman writes movingly about the reasons she abstains from chametz on Passover. As a Reconstructionist Jew, I too believe that God doesn’t intervene in the world to punish wrongdoers or those who violate the commandments, and yet I still place great importance on them. When we choose to observe Passover by abstaining from bread and other leavened foods, we are binding ourselves to a sacred story–one that connects us to our history, to Jews around the world, and to God. I do this not because I worry I will be punished if I don’t, but because I believe acting this way brings its own reward. The ancient rabbi, Ben Zoma, captured this idea perfectly: Doing the right thing not to receive reward or from fear of punishment. He said, “The reward of a mitzvah is a mitzvah and the reward of a transgression is another transgression.” (Pirkei Avot 4:2) By creating sacred places in our own lives and our own communities through these mitvzot, we invite God to enter into our midst and be present.

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