Thursday, April 9, 2009

This Kid

Have I ever mentioned how incredibly amazing this kid is?

For show and tell today, Caroline brought her children's Torah book so that she could share the story of Passover with her class! She has also decided that for the eight days of Passover she will try to observe Passover dietary restrictions.

Which means refrain from eating hametz, foods that are forbidden during Passover. Technically, hametz consists of five grains – wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye – when those grains are mixed with water for long enough to rise.

So no peanut butter and jelly sandwich in her lunch box today!

She is being really serious about this and is giving tremendous thought to the reasons behind these restrictions.

Caroline is very interested in all of the details, and wants to know the reasons behind the fasting and restrictions. Since this is all unfamiliar to me, I had to do a little digging to figure out what exactly we could eat and what we shouldn't. Sure I grew up with fish fry friday's, but I don't know that I ever questioned why...

In my digging, I found this Sermon given April 14, 2000, by Rabbi Barry H. Block here is just a part...

"Whatever Passover dietary restrictions we adopt, we should do so with seriousness, with consistency, and with purpose. We can learn discipline, by staying with our Passover dietary restrictions throughout the week. We may sanctify our homes for the holiday, by removing forbidden foods from our refrigerators and our pantries, and we may symbolize that act of cleansing by checking every nook and cranny for hametz. We must not bring ridicule on our faith, on our people, on Reform Judaism or on our Temple by eating obviously inappropriate foods in public during Passover. We lose respect for ourselves, and we relinquish our esteem in the eyes of others, when we eat sandwiches, rolls and pastries in restaurants during Passover.

You no doubt noticed that I left the dietary restrictions to the end of this sermon. I did not “save the best for last.” In fact, as concerned as I am that some among us will ignore these mitzvot altogether, I am equally disconcerted by those whose obsession with these dietary laws obscures the deeper meaning of the holiday. We eat matzah to remind us of the poor bread our ancestors ate in slavery. We eat matzah to remember the bread that our people baked so quickly as they were leaving Egypt. We eat matzah to call our minds to the plight of others who eat only poor bread all year, not by choice or by ritual, but because they are not free, just as we were slaves in the land of Egypt.

When we badger ourselves or one another about a drop of corn syrup in a Coca-Cola, but fail to work for freedom, we are in violation of Passover. When we spend days preparing pesadich cakes but do not reach out to our fellow Jews, we are not keeping Passover. When we pop Pesach macaroons into our mouths but fail to praise God for our blessings, our Passover is downright treife.

This year, may each of us indeed have a “kosher Passover.” May we keep Passover, in what goes out of our mouths and in what goes into our mouths. May we observe the festival, in the foods served on our Seder tables and in the services conducted there. May we faithfully seek to be God’s partners in securing the welfare of our Jewish people, and in fighting for the freedom of men, women and children everywhere. Then, may our Passover observance truly be pleasing in God’s sight."

What a wonderful message---Don't you think?

Although we did not participate in the ridding the house of all hametz and the cleaning of every nook and cranny, this is after all only our second Sedar! We'll get there! Especially with Caroline coaching me!


rebekah said...

Yes, it is a wonderful message! Thanks Caroline!

-C said...

That was a lovely message. And Caroline sounds like such an old soul. I hope to meet her one day.