PASSOVER SHABBAT READING:
* A "mixed multitude" of people fled Egypt with the Israelites.
* With no time to wait, they took the cakes from their oven before they had time to rise. As a reminder of God's redemption, we are instructed to eat only unleavened bread during Passover.
* We must explain to our children, "It is because of what God did for me when I went free from Egypt." The Hebrew word for explain, v'higgadta, has the same root as Haggadah, the book from which we read on Passover. In doing so, each year we fulfill the sacred obligation to tell this story to our children. It is this story, more than any other that is central to Judaism.
* God redeemed us from slavery and we therefore know the heart of the stranger.
It is the time of Spring (really! It's coming!) - the season of new growth and new beginnings. And, of course, as described in the Book of Exodus, it is also the holiday of the liberation of our people from slavery in Egypt.
"Egypt" in Hebrew is Mitzrayim, literally a "narrow" place. In slavery, our ancestors were in a narrow place, both physically and spiritually. As we will recount the story together at our tables from Florida to Washington, New York to California, Texas to Idaho, and all over the world, we are grateful that God led us out of that narrow place. We came from unbearable darkness out into a world of Torah, of Peoplehood, of Light. At this season, let us embrace the light and let go of the narrow places that limit our lives - opening ourselves to the wide world of possibilities and new beginnings that await us!