by Rabbi Joshua Buchin: Co-Dean of Students, Jewish Studies Teacher

Passover, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the liberation from Egypt, is right around the corner. This means that it’s a good time for us to take stock of our own lives and reflect on the ways that we might want to change in the coming year.

In the Haggadah, the central text engaged with during the Passover Seder, we read this beautiful line from the Babylonian Talmud: 

“In each and every generation a person must view oneself as though they personally left Egypt, as it is stated (Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 116b)” 

This passage is essential for understanding our role in the Passover seder. We are meant to not just retell the Exodus story, but to relive it, imagining ourselves as having actually been part of the group of people who were freed from Egypt.

This provides us with an opportunity to think about what ways we might currently be stuck and to imagine the ways that we could be more free in the future. 

Rabbi Mark Borovitz, the founder of Beit T’Shuvah (who came to JCHS last year to perform Freedom Song), writes “what makes this holiday [Passover] so special and meaningful? I believe that the message of liberation and freedom is one that speaks to every person… All of us humans are enslaved by something… This year, we need to be liberated from something and Pesach comes to teach us that now is the time (The Liberation of the Soul Kit).”

Passover is a time for us to examine the areas in our lives where we feel stuck and where there might need to be some movement. The holiday is coming to remind us not just of the Biblical Exodus, but of the potential for freedom and liberation for all of us. 

Passover is also a holiday that celebrates Spring, a time of renewal when the long winter is finally giving way to warmer weather. May this Passover be a time of growth, learning, and renewal for all! Chag Sameach!