Passover begins this year at sundown tonight! I'll be celebrating, as I do every year, with friends and family.
With this holiday, I've found strong parallels to welcoming the energy of spring. Here are four ways Passover can help you welcome Spring.
1) Old traditions can lead to new insights.
There have been times throughout the years this tradition has felt antiquated, predictable and even a bit boring, as every year we recount the same story of the Jews' exodus from Egypt, in the exact same way during our Passover Seder.
"Seder" actually means "order," so other than the people around the table and perhaps the tablecloth, the celebration is conducted in a very precise way.
Although in the days and weeks leading up to Passover, I might feel overwhelmed and underwhelmed by the prospect of hosting yet another Seder, once the meal and ritual foods are prepared and we're seated around the table I'm always touched and inspired and hear something new that speaks to my heart during the Seder.
Preparing for a new season can be the same: You do the same chores, routines and responsibilities as always, but spring can give you a pair of fresh eyes to notice something new beginning.
2) A major part of preparing for Passover is physically cleaning your home.
We clean and prepare for weeks before, and on the night before Passover begins, tradition states that we are to go through the house with a candle and feather to look in every crevice, every nook and cranny to make sure that there is no dirt or speck of dust left.
I know that I feel freer, lighter, happier and more relaxed when my home is clean and cleared of necessary items.
Even more profound than having a clean home, Passover gives us the opportunity to clear and clean our minds.
Think about clearing out your mind as well when you start your spring cleaning!
3) This can be a time to claim your truth and move forward with intention.
We tell the story of Passover in first person: “We were slaves in Egypt, we were freed, we wandered for 40 years in the desert...” Regardless whether you believe this story is 100% fact based, we can all glean an impactful lesson of telling the story in the first person.
When we collectively read aloud the story of Passover, four messages clearly stand out to me and serve as important reminders as we each navigate our lives in this modern world:
“We were slaves in Egypt.” We can ask ourselves: What has held me in bondage by my own actions, beliefs and ways of being?
“We were freed.” Ask: What steps can I take to release what is holding me back?
When the Jews left Egypt they had to very little time to prepare but they were willing to leave many things behind for the promise of freedom. Is there something that you could release that would give you the freedom to move forward?
“We wandered in the desert for 40 years.” Becoming is a process, it takes time to let things unfold.
4) Along with freedom, Passover celebrates the coming of spring, the renewal of new life.
Each spring I marvel at the nuanced differences. Which plants have wintered over and which have not, what has grown and what has not, and which flower will be the first to bloom in any given year.
Spring is a reminder that we can make fresh starts but that we aren’t starting from scratch, but rather from experience and history. We are not alone but are surrounded by community as we embrace the new season.
As I've explored my own feelings and thoughts about Passover and the message it offers us today, I have come to realize that you can't force someone to hear a message that they are not ready to receive, and we must never underestimate the power of planting a seed even if it must be done year after year after year.
So I invite you to consider what seed you will be planting this year, knowing that the day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.