Is This Freedom?

“Don’t make Purim so Sameach that it’s not Kosher, and don’t make Peysekh so Kosher that it’s not Sameach”

I keep seeing this quote from the Bostoner Rebbetzen repeated beneath complaints about the stress of Peysekh preparation, and on numerous chizuk pages. At first, I dismissed it as being just like the famous tznius guideline “Be attractive, not attracting”- in other words, catchy but absolutely useless. But as Peysekh drew closer and I became overwhelmed by the preparations, it began to finally resonate with me.

We’re meant to be celebrating freedom, and we can’t do that by enslaving ourselves.

Just as Pharaoh enslaved us as prisoners in Mitzrayim, we are often our own slave drivers. Between negative thoughts about Peysekh, worries about the yontiff and Seyder, and above all, the hard physical labour preparing for the holiday, we find ourselves miserable and anxious when we should be rejoicing. It seems as if we have collectively forgotten to delight in the holiday.

This can’t be the true meaning of freedom. So this year, I’m trying my utmost to follow the words of the Bostoner Rebbetzen. May we all merit to enjoy a Peysekh which is truly “freilichen” as well as Kosher!

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2 thoughts on “Is This Freedom?

  1. I think maybe that is where the growth is when it comes to Pesach. Can we find joy even in difficult circumstances? Can we find the meaning behind customs that seem so restrictive at times? Can we remember the holy in the very depths of the most mundane, like cleaning? Can we trust that each year, it’s all going to work out and come together on eruv Pesach or will we give in to fear that it won’t? Can we remember to be kind and patient with family members even when there is stress and pressure?

    For me, looking for these deeper spiritual lessons in even the most mundane practices in Pesach prep helps me to keep a better perspective on the holiday than I would if I considered it separate from the joys of the Seders and chol hamoeds. Life is both the glow of the Seder and the soreness of scrubbing floors and it’s important to be able to find the joy in both.

    I hope you have a joyful Pesach!

    Liked by 1 person

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