There are a few things that I was hoping to find time to post about regarding Pesach (Passover) preparations: my thoughts on how much to involve children in cleaning and how much is too much to expect (I’ve wanted to write about this for the past two years and never found the time!), a detailed shopping list with a cost breakdown of food purchases, a menu plan for Pesach, and some menus. Since tomorrow night is Pesach, there’s no way I’m going to be able to write about most of that!
At the same time, I’d also really like to share about some spiritual preparations that I’ll be making for Pesach. Pesach is an incredibly powerful time spiritually, with its own unique energy to tap into, and to be able to tap into it, you need to be aware of it and planning for it! And it’s also the holiday that has so much physical preparation surrounding it that it’s easy to totally lose sight of what the point of all those preparations are. So I’m going to share just a few things that we’ll be doing.
Preparing for the seder in advance – of course we need to prepare the food and set the table. But what about being emotionally and spiritually prepared to appreciate and absorb some of the messages of the evening?
- In our home, everyone takes a long nap on Friday afternoon so that they’re well-rested for the seder.
- My husband sat down with the older kids one evening earlier this week to talk with them about some of his goals for the seder, and to hear their thoughts.
- My husband assigned each of the kids parts of the seder to prepare for, to come with thoughts on the portion they were given.
- Dd17 took time yesterday to help the little kids prepare stick puppets for the seder that they can use to actively participate.
A few years ago, I learned that there’s an amazing spiritual power for growth when eating the matza at the seder, and shared that with my family then. I thought in advance about the one thing that I most wanted for myself in terms of spiritual change in the coming year, and focused on that as I was chewing the matza, and the older children and my husband also did this. It’s like a spiritual pipeline that gets opened up straight to Heaven at that time, for that purpose. Tonight I’ll be speaking with them about this at dinner, in addition to something new that I learned about this year and hope to integrate (to be shared below). This turns the physical act of eating into something much more elevated and personally meaningful.
This evening is the search for chametz (leavened foods), and like everything, the physical search has much more depth behind it than a nice little ceremony. Chametz represents the ego, the undesired, the lower self as it expresses itself in our lives. We hide ten pieces of chametz for the search, and we can take time to think about the ten aspects of ‘chametz’ in our personal lives that we’d like to search out and destroy. There is a custom to burn these pieces of paper together with the actual chametz earlier in the morning of the day the seder takes place.
This is something that takes some thought to prepare for, you can’t just spontaneously do it at the last moment. At dinner I’ll be sharing this idea with my family members so that they’ll have time to prepare some of their own ‘chametz’/negative habits/unhappy thoughts or experiences that they’d like to consciously let go of for the coming year. I hope to sit down with the littles as well and share this concept on a simplified level with them, so that they can each prepare something to burn as well (eg saying ‘poopy’, hitting someone, etc).
I’m also going to be giving a shiur/ Torah lecture for women this Shabbos and the next. (I was only thinking of giving a shiur on one of these two Shabbosim, but the person I asked about hosting was away for the first Shabbos. I told her maybe we could do it the second week, but by the time she got back to me and said she could do it, I had already made arrangements to have it held somewhere else on the first Shabbos, so I said I’d give a different lecture next Shabbos.)
This week I’ll be speaking about The Spiritually Transformative Power of Chametz in Your Life, and ways to concretely take away messages of growth for the coming year. If you’re in the area (as far as I know, there are very few people in my area who read my blog, but still…), the shiur will be held on April 7, 4 pm at Beit Mali, Rechov Chavatzelet 24 in the Dromit neighborhood.
Now I’m off to go shopping for vegetables and the other assorted things that we still need for Pesach!