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Pesach 5775 – It’s Not About The Matzah

Eating matzah is not really about eating matzah. You want to get a good discussion going? Ask a few Jews about what they do or do not eat at Passover … you will find proof of the adage: two Jews, three opinions (at least) … and probably heatedly-expressed ones, as well.

What is it about religion that so polarizes people? Sometimes it is people empowered by their faith to impose rigid and judgmental beliefs on those around them – like legislators in Indiana who recently empowered their citizens to express their religious beliefs at the liberty and expense of others? Sometimes it is people impassioned by a fear or hatred of a religious communities values, history or standing – like the individual(s) who sought to unsettle the folks in Boulder by sending envelopes with harmless white powder and accompanying it with (poorly written) threatening messages.

Religion gets – and sometimes deserves – a bad rap. And sometimes, it is quite difficult to face and take that rap. Difficult and challenging because ‘good’ religion ain’t easy. Good religion is the kind that honestly acknowledges the mystery and complexity of the world and the universe – one that does not commonly offer easy black and white responses to the rainbow of living that goes on in our world. Good religion is the kids that when confronted with that mystery and complexity aids us in finding comfort and meaning.  Good religion is the kind that challenges even the most agreed upon sacred cows – especially when those ‘cows’ embody or employ ideas that encourage rigidity, stagnation or oppression. Good religion – while rooted and living at the pure core of the religious traditions we know – cannot help but to be related to, intertwined with and inhabiting the same space as bad religion, too.

Good religion reminds us that eating matzah is really not about eating matzah. It is not really about changing dishes or avoiding corn or rice or tortillas. It is about reminding us (i.e. putting it back into our minds) of our obligation to participate in the ongoing process of liberating ourselves from Egypt, or as it known in Hebrew: Mitzrayim: The Narrow Place.

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