As we watch the trees around us bud and flower and the unmistakable signs of spring overwhelm DannyLee with fits of sneezing, the time has come to make preparations to keep Pesach (Passover). This, the first of the feasts commanded for all believers in YHVH, is one of the most complicated to prepare for as the preparations go far beyond a simple meal.
My first concern as the "woman of the house" is to search all of the cabinets and foodstuffs for hidden leaven. In my first year of doing this, I knew only to search for the word, "yeast". As I grew in my understanding, I found that "leaven" comes in many more forms than just simple "yeast". We found that we had to determine our own level of comfort in determining how far we needed to go to remove the leaven from our lives. Following the dictates of other men leads to an unbearable burden that quickly borders on the ridiculous. We find that it's much better to allow HIS SPIRIT to lead us.
The search for leaven, however, is merely symbolic of a far greater task. The deeper meaning is for each member of the family to search their hearts, minds and belongings for anything that might allow sin to have a hold on their lives. Doing this search year after year has encouraged us to remove plenty of books, magazines and movies that we feel aren't edifying to our spiritual well-being. This is all part of our spring cleaning efforts.
The next task is to purchase matzo and the other ingredients needed to prepare the traditional foods served at the Pesach meal. In our travels, this isn't always as easy as it might seem. It can take quite a bit of searching just to find matzo bread in a supermarket. We try to buy enough to have some every day throughout the following seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Hooray for matzo pizza!
I have considered making my own matzo and have even gathered the necessary tools to do so. However, I've yet to actually work up enough courage to do it. Someday......
As another part of my preparations, I've spent several hours searching for the perfect Hagadah with the order of the Seder. We're not fluent in Hebrew so we needed an English version and we try to avoid all of the rabbinical trappings that have gone far beyond the simple instructions given by Moses. There are many traditions that have been passed down through the years since our Exodus from Egypt that have grown up around keeping Pesach. We feel that it's important to carefully consider what traditions are right for us to adopt and which traditions add nothing but extra work.
In my search, I was deeply blessed with a beautiful Haggadah booklet that quickly brought me to tears. The author encourages everyone at the outset to choose how to use the various parts for themselves and while it's a bit "weighty" at 56 pages, I found plenty of songs and stories that I felt would be a wonderful start to our Pesach family traditions. Sadly, I also found that it contained some very un-Scriptural, anti-Torah ideas that has caused me to reconsider my earlier recommendation.
While we still have many other preparations to make before Pesach, (including the matter of the Pesach lamb), our most important concern is in preparing our hearts. We've been greatly blessed by the study of the Book of John conducted by Monte Judah at Lion and Lamb Ministries. Every teaching has caused us to deeply re-consider why we believe that Yeshua of Nazareth is our Pesach Lamb and our Redeemer. Going through this study has given a far deeper meaning to everything that we thought we knew before and our hope is that our Pesach will be the best one ever.
May our prayer at the end be:
"Leshanah haba'ah bee-rushalayim -- Next year in Yerushalyim!"